Boris Johnson slams HS2 axing | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Rishi Sunak is reportedly able to axe Phase 2 of the HS2 rail line – regardless of opposition from Tory predecessors, enterprise chiefs and the Mayor of London.

The potential price of the high-speed rail scheme – which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has mentioned is “out of control” – is alleged to have soared by £8 billion. It is now being extensively reported that the PM is planning to announce the choice to kill off the Northern hyperlink to Manchester earlier than the Tories host their convention within the metropolis on October 1.

However, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned scrapping HS2 north could be “total Treasury-driven nonsense” – and doing so earlier than the Manchester convention could be “the height of insanity”.

Sunak and the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, are reported to be assembly to debate the scenario within the coming days.

A Whitehall supply instructed the Telegraph: “There is a reluctance to throw good money after bad.” The newspaper reported that officers anticipate the higher estimate of constructing the preliminary London to Birmingham stretch of the road to extend by greater than £8 billion from the £45 billion determine revealed in June 2022.

Sky News additionally studies that Sunak will now scrap Phase 2 of HS2. Spiralling prices may forestall funding in different transport tasks and wipe out any monetary advantages from the scheme.

However, former prime minister Boris Johnson has labelled the scepticism across the scheme “total Treasury-driven nonsense”, stressing that it could make no sense to have a “mutilated” HS2 and warning that saying it earlier than the Manchester convention could be “the height of insanity”.

David Cameron has additionally privately raised important issues in regards to the prospect that the high-speed rail line may very well be truncated.

Dozens of enterprise leaders signed a Times letter accusing Mr Sunak of damaging Britain’s popularity as a spot to do enterprise by permitting uncertainty to “plague” the venture.

Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, mentioned it could be a “tragedy” if the scheme was in the reduction of.

He warned it could injury the UK’s enchantment as a spot to spend money on main tasks.

And in a letter to the Prime Minister, London Mayor Sadiq Khan mentioned HS2 may find yourself being a “colossal waste of money” if key components of the plan are scrapped.

Mr Khan mentioned it could take longer to get from Birmingham to central London on HS2 than present trains if plans for it to terminate at Euston station are deserted.

He mentioned the hypothesis about scrapping the Birmingham-Manchester leg of the route was “deeply worrying”.

The Labour mayor instructed Mr Sunak: “The Government’s approach to HS2 risks squandering the huge economic opportunity that it presents and turning it instead into a colossal waste of public money.”

When the railway first opens between London and Birmingham, anticipated between 2029 and 2033, its terminus within the capital will likely be Old Oak Common, within the western suburbs.

HS2 trains aren’t anticipated to run to Euston till round 2041 on the earliest and there at the moment are doubts the central London extension will ever go forward.

Mr Khan mentioned: “Terminating the service at Old Oak Common would be a short-sighted decision which will have long term implications, significantly downgrading the value of HS2 as a high-speed connection and leaving a ridiculous situation where a ‘high speed’ journey between Birmingham and central London could take as long as the existing route, if not longer.”

He mentioned the “best case” journey time of 1 hour and 22 minutes from Birmingham to Euston, altering at Old Oak Common onto the Elizabeth Line and Northern Line, was “already one minute longer than the existing train time”.

Mr Khan instructed the Prime Minister: “The public would rightly be dismayed were all of this time and money spent on a line that took longer to reach central London than the existing route, and was devoid of any proper connections to the north of England.”

But Labour peer Lord Berkeley, who in 2019 was deputy chairman of a government-commissioned assessment into HS2, prompt funding must be prioritised for rail upgrades in northern England and the Midlands.

“Old Oak Common will do fine for this truncated railway,” he instructed BBC Radio 4’s Today.

A Government spokesman mentioned: “The HS2 project is already well under way with spades in the ground, and our focus remains on delivering it.”