HS2 northern leg to Manchester will be scrapped due to rising costs - reports
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The northern leg of HS2 is set to be scrapped, it has been reported. Speculation has been rife that Rishi Sunak would finally wield the axe over the HS2 route from Birmingham to Manchester as costs spiral.
However, there has been no official announcement yet as neither Chancellor Jeremy Hunt nor Transport Secretary Mark Harper mentioned the future of the high-speed line in their speeches at the ongoing Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
Scrapping the plan to take the line to Manchester would be awkward while the Prime Minister’s party is gathered in the city and No 10 insiders insist no final decision has been made.
Ministers – including Mr Sunak – have repeatedly refused to guarantee the line will extend beyond Birmingham in recent weeks, fuelling speculation it will be axed or delayed.
ITV, Sky and The Independent reported the Prime Minister had taken the decision to shelve it, with the money instead going to other transport schemes.
A No 10 spokesman said: “These reports are incorrect. No final decisions have been taken on phase two of HS2.”
Louise Haigh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, commenting on reports and then denial of a government decision on HS2, said: “This fiasco shows the Conservatives are too divided and too distracted to take this country forward.
“After weeks of chaos and indecision on the biggest infrastructure project in the country, Rishi Sunak’s relaunch is now coming off the rails. This shambolic conference is showcasing precisely why working people cannot afford five more years of the Conservatives.”