The HS2 high-speed railway between London, the Midlands and the North will now be delayed by up to five years, despite billions of pounds already been spent on the project.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps made the announcement that the planned completion date of 2026 for Phase One, would now be extended to 2028 or even 2031. Phase Two will also be extended by a few more years, possibly until 2034.
It was also revealed that the total cost of the project has risen from £66bn to more than £88bn.
Shapps commented: “HS2 is the single largest project of this Government. One important aspect of the panel’s work is to consider whether both the costs, and the benefits, of the scheme have been correctly identified. HS2’s business case has been founded on increasing capacity on our constrained rail network, improving connectivity, and stimulating economic growth and regeneration. The current budget was established in 2013 and later adjusted to 2015 prices. Since that time, significant concerns have been raised.
“I want the House to have the full picture. There is no future in obscuring the true costs of a large infrastructure project – as well as the potential benefits.
“We all in this House know we must invest in modern infrastructure to ensure the future prosperity of our country and its people. We look back to past achievements with a sense of pride – from the canals and railways that ensured the UK led the world into the Industrial Revolution, to the space ports and launch sites we are now considering that will make the UK a global leader in space. These endeavours both inspire and improve the quality of our everyday lives. It is therefore right that we subject every project to the most rigorous scrutiny; and if we are to truly maximise every opportunity, this must always be done with an open mind and a clean sheet of paper.”