HS2 to undergo spending review, says Liz Truss

The Bucks Herald says: #EnoughIsEnough - It's time to scrap HS2
The Bucks Herald says: #EnoughIsEnough - It's time to scrap HS2

As speculation rises on whether HS2 will come in anywhere near it's initial £56 million budget, Liz Truss revealed in an interview last week.

HS2 – the multi-billion pound train line which is set to come through the heart of Aylesbury Vale, devastating the countryside and local businesses – will be scrutinised by the Government, according to Conservative treasury minister Liz Truss.

In an interview with the Spectator, she was asked whether she would consider scrapping HS2.

She replied: “That’s a matter for the zero-based capital review that I’ll be looking at very intently."

She went on to say: “What really drives local economies is transport around counties. Transport into cities. That’s what makes a difference to why a business decides to locate somewhere.

"“We have to be rigorous about what infrastructure is going to maximise opportunities for people.”

Originally touted by the Labour government and continued under the Liberal Democrat-Conservative party coalition, HS2 has faced scepticism and in some cases, vehement criticism from day one, in terms of both cost and practicality.

Buckinghamshire County Council Leader Martin Tett said: " About time too. We have long pointed out that the Business case for this project is fundamentally flawed and that far better ways exist to spend such a vast amount of Tax payers' money.

"There should be investment in increasing capacity for commuters, delivering ultrafast broadband across the country and injecting long term funding into repairing and upgrading our roads. HS2 should be on the scrap heap of environmentally damaging 'vanity projects'".

While the government’s official figures estimate the costs to be roughly £56bn, the Institute of Economic Affairs’ own research puts them significantly higher. Rail experts have estimated the costs to be over £100bn.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"It's great news that Liz Truss intends to include HS2 in a review of government projects.

"This enormous white elephant has never made any sense, with a fundamentally flawed business case and a spiralling final cost for taxpayers.

"That's why we launched the Great British Transport Competition, to identify credible and popular alternatives to this expensive and unnecessary waste of taxpayers' money.'

"Let's hope that politicians see sense and scrap HS2, spending money instead on far more worthwhile infrastructure projects that will cost less and deliver far better value."