Taxpayer cash under scrutiny
Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are currently evaluating whether the billions of taxpayer cash allocated to the controversial HS2 project are being spent wisely, according to a Home Office minister. Chris Philp stated that no final decisions have been made regarding the potential scrapping of the Manchester leg of the rail line in order to reduce costs. The cost of HS2 has significantly increased since its inception in 2012, originally estimated at £32.7 billion but now exceeding £100 billion.
Controlled costs for Manchester residents
Mr. Philp defended the government's commitment to Manchester, denying allegations that its residents are being treated as second-class citizens. He emphasized that the purpose of the review is to ensure that costs are controlled, which is crucial for the taxpayers across the country.
November announcement expected
Potential plans to scale back or delay the HS2 project will not be revealed until November, in response to the backlash surrounding the rail line. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, criticized the ongoing speculation and confirmed that any changes will be announced as part of the Autumn Statement. However, there is a live "debate" over the future of the project, with the possibility of the Birmingham to Manchester leg being cut off or delayed for several years.
Mixed opinions on HS2
While many prominent figures, including former PMs, Chancellors, and business leaders, support HS2's extension from Euston to Manchester, there is opposition to the project. Paul Johnson, head of the economic think tank and former Government spending watchdog employee, expressed his despair over the project, stating that the original decision to undertake it was a mistake. Former Cabinet Minister Esther McVey highlighted the negative impact of HS2 on local transport in the North and proposed stopping the project as soon as possible.