HS2 Update

Many people across Yorkshire think High Speed Rail is a waste of money and cash should be spent on local infrastructure projects, an MP told Parliament.

Shipley MP Philip Davies criticised Transport Secretary Chris Grayling as he updated the Commons on the project to connect the South to the North.

Mr Davies said: “There are many people, including in Yorkshire, who think that HS2 is a huge waste of money that could be better spent on infrastructure projects elsewhere in the region. He was bullish about the total figure that HS2 will cost. Will he therefore put a cap on the cost to make sure it does not overrun in the way some people think? At what point does he think HS2 will become too expensive? Or does he support this project whatever its ultimate cost?”

Government believe High Speed 2 is needed to deliver economic growth across the country, provide rail capacity needed for the next century as well as faster journey times and better connectivity between cities.

Last night (MON) it awarded engineering works for stage 1 of the project, introduced a Bill into the Commons to push ahead with phase 2a which will connect the West Midlands to Crewe by 2027 and set out the outstanding sections of the phase 2b route to Manchester and Leeds, following a consultation last year.

Mr Grayling said: “The taxpayers are paying the bill, but believe me the Treasury keeps a pretty careful watch on public spending and I have no doubt that it will be keeping a very weather eye on those costs, as will all the various bodies that look at public procurement projects and public construction projects. We have a good recent track record in delivering major projects on time and on budget—people have only to look at Crossrail to see that. We should be self-confident as a nation and say that we can do this. Why would it be the case that other countries can deliver projects such as this and for us to think we cannot—I think we can.”

Mr Davies has long campaigned for the local scheme and called on government to abandon its High Speed Rail project and spend cash locally to benefit his constituents, rather than slash 20 minutes off a journey to London.