Anne Marie Waters, Party Leader
January 20th 2020
The controversial HS2, a high speed rail linking London to Birmingham and Manchester is set to see costs go up to £106 bn. The cost was set at £56 bn in 2015.
A report leaked to the Financial Times warned of the potential rise, and also recommended that the second phase of the project, Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, be stalled “while experts look at whether conventional lines could help link Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds instead”.
Labour’s Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said that to stop the northern phase of HS2 hints at preference to the south, while Northern England is left behind.
Burnham said: “To me that would be the same old story. London to Birmingham, money is no object, and then all the penny pinching is done in the North of England”.
However, Lord Berkeley, vice chairman of the review, said “I suspect that most of the people who like to use the trains around Manchester and Leeds would rather have a really good commuter service just like there is in London, rather than get to London half an hour quicker.”
That certainly sounds sensible to me. I use trains in the north very frequently, and it needs vast improvement. It is never too late to rethink, save money, and provide better transport for the people who need it. Massive investment is essential, but it cannot be wasted.
So far, £7.4 bn has been spent, from an original budget of £32.7 bn. The current budget is £55.6 bn and if this report is accurate, that will almost double.
There are billions of pounds at stake here, and billions would be saved if this project were scrapped. It would cost far less to completely revitalise railways in the north, and give people an affordable service that can get them to where they need to be (preferably on time and without being squeezed on to a standing-room-only train every morning).
Public money is so easy to abuse and throw around, because the taxpayer will pick up the bill. For Britain believes that the person who picks up the bill should have a voice, and what the people want is a system that works; they do not want to pour another £100 bn in to this, when that money could pay for so much more.
It’s time to scrap HS2!
Anne Marie Waters