HS2 Delays: Long-term Costs

Transport – in the House of Commons on 20 April 2023.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Secretary of State for Transport

HS2 is a transformational project, and the Government remain fully committed to building the line from Euston to Manchester. HS2 is being delivered in stages, with cost estimates published for each phase of the programme. We remain transparent on the emerging cost position of HS2, and we publish six-monthly reports to Parliament. The recent announcement will clearly require us to work through adjustments for certain phases, and we will provide updated estimates in due course, including through those six-monthly reports.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

Tens of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in economic growth depend on building HS2. The National Audit Office has noted that the decision to delay HS2 by another two years will increase the costs of the project yet again. The Institution of Civil Engineers says that delaying HS2 could make the building process

“more difficult as construction firms shift their focus to other countries.”

Is it not time that the Government came clean with the public that HS2 is happening, and stopped the dither and delay that will only cost the taxpayer more money?

Photo of Greg Smith Greg Smith Conservative, Buckingham

That is not what you said in Chesham.

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Secretary of State for Transport

As my hon. Friend points out, the Liberal Democrats have different views on HS2 in different parts of the country, which would not be the first time.

The Government remain fully committed to HS2. Picking up the point made by Wera Hobhouse about the supply chain, I made it clear in my statement to the House that we are going full steam ahead on phase 1 from Curzon Street to just north of Birmingham, precisely to make sure we protect jobs and the supply chain, and to demonstrate clearly that the project is going to happen. We see the transformation it is having in the west midlands, as Andy Street never tires of telling me, in generating economic growth in Birmingham. We want to see more of that across the country and across the route.