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Gov. 'hid' HS2's true cost from tax payers, say campaigners

Gov. 'hid' HS2's true cost from tax payers, say campaigners

Published by Dan Gooding at 1:41pm 24th June 2019.

HS2 could cost £9-billion than originally thought and that was known in 2015.

That is according to campaigners after a House of Commons report was published, which says capacity could be added to the rail network much more cheaply than the high-speed line's official £56 billion price tag.

The Tax Payer's Alliance say it's shocking tax payers weren't made aware of the bigger bill, but the government disputes the claim.

The report's introduction says:

...This paper also shows that there is still uncertainty around the costs of HS2. The estimates at the time of the 2015 Spending Review put the cost at around £65 billion (in 2015 prices).

The ambitions of HS2 Ltd are to reduce the costs of the infrastructure for Phase 2b by around 40% from the 2015 Spending Review estimate...

Read more HS2 stories

Responding to this new briefing, John O'Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said:

"It's really quite shocking that both HS2 Ltd and Department for Transport (DfT) officials hid this information from the public. Taxpayers have a right to know how much money is being spent on HS2, especially as the case for this vanity project grows weaker by the day.

"£65 billion would be enough to implement several infrastructure projects which would drastically improve transport networks in regions outside of London. The next Prime Minister must urgently review the case for HS2, and consider the opportunity cost of not investing in popular and positive alternatives."

You can read the full briefing here.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said:

"We fundamentally disagree with this report and this figure is incorrect.

"The Spending Review in 2015 established a long term funding envelope of £55.7bn and we expect HS2 Ltd to deliver to this budget."

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