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Labour would drop HS2 rail link if costs spiral too high



The controversial HS2 high speed rail project has been “totally mismanaged” and should be dropped if there are better ways to spend the £50 billion required, according to the Labour party.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls told the crowd at the party’s conference in Brighton, “We support investment in better transport links for the future. And we continue to back the idea of a new North-South rail link.

“But under this government the High Speed 2 project has been totally mismanaged and the costs have shot up to £50 billion.

“David Cameron and George Osborne have made clear they will go full steam ahead with this project – no matter how much the costs spiral up and up. They seem willing to put their own pride and vanity above best value for money for the taxpayer.”

He added that his party would not take what he called an “irresponsible approach” if budgets were tight and the project risks being improperly funded.

The question is – not just whether a new high speed line is a good idea or a bad idea, but whether it is the best way to spend £50 billion for the future of our country”, Balls added

Responding to Labour’s calls, Katja Hall, chief policy director of the CBI, said, “We’ve always said that the government must redouble its efforts to sell the benefits of HS2 while keeping a tight lid on costs. But let’s not forget why this project matters.

“HS2 will connect eight of our 10 biggest cities, boost regeneration projects across the country for years to come, and will avert a looming capacity crunch on the West Coast mainline.”

Further reading:

HS2 could generate £15bn per year for UK economy, report claims

Government accused of ignoring criticism as MPs outline HS2 deficiencies

HS2 money ‘better spent elsewhere’, says leading business group

Alistair Darling on HS2: ‘there are better ways to spend £50bn’

HS2 could cost double government estimates, warns free market thinkthank



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