Leaked document ‘blows apart’ government claims on HS2 says Labour

A leaked document obtained by Labour has revealed the impact of delaying HS2.

Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary says the document “blows apart” minster’s claims last week, that delays of two years to Phase2a between Birmingham and Crewe were to “help balance the nation’s books”.

During an urgent question in the House of Commons, Haigh said the document reveals that the delay will increase costs, cut jobs and construction firms could go bust.

She also claimed that trains could terminate at Old Oak Common station until 2041, before they are able to reach Euston.

Haigh said: “Is there anything more emblematic of this failed government than their flagship levelling up project that neither makes it to the north or to central London.

”Isn’t it time the minister came clean? This absurd plan will hit jobs, hurt growth and cost taxpayers even more”.

Rail minister Huw Merriman responded saying, “Obviously we do not comment on leaked documents or certainly not documents I have not been given at all. It is an entirely responsible government approach to balance the commitments we make and transport commitments total £40bn that have been set out to the house.

“It’s also well within a responsible government’s remit that where there are spending pressures right now due to the help this government has given to those facing increased energy costs … I’m very proud of what we are doing when it comes to delivering HS2.”

The railway, which will link London, the Midlands and North of England, was given a price tag of £33bn in 2010.

But now the overall target cost, excluding the eastern leg of Phase 2b from the West Midlands to the East Midlands, has rocketed to around £100bn.

It is understood that the government hopes that the delays will allow it to spread the cost over a longer period of time, making it more affordable by reducing annual expenditure.