Cheryl has received confirmation for the Minister of State for Transport that the High Speed 2 project has so far cost the taxpayer over a quarter of a billion pounds.
In a written Parliamentary Answer from the Minister, Simon Burns, it was confirmed that the total spend to date by the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd on the project since 2009 stood at £253.23 million.
Cheryl said, “I was shocked to find out that over a quarter of billion pounds of taxpayers’ money has been spent on this project before even a single piece of track has been laid.
“At a time when we are all being asked to tighten our belts it is questionable that so much money is being ploughed into a project when its benefits have not yet been proven. However, it is important to remember that, at a current estimated cost of £34 billion, the taxpayer has barely begun paying the bill for this project.
“If, instead, we were upgrading existing rail lines the cost would be a fraction of HS2 (Rail Package 2 is estimated at £2 billion) and the money spent so far on this project would have gone a considerable way to meeting that cost. Instead, although an enormous sum to date, as far as HS2 is concerned a quarter of a billion is a drop in the ocean.”
The answers to Cheryl from the Minister also revealed that the DfT and HS2 Ltd’s combined project budget for the 2012-13 financial year was a maximum of £224 million, with expected expenditure to be £214m.
Cheryl added “I want a cost effective solution to upgrading the UK’s transport infrastructure and question in these days of austerity why we are burdening future generations with such an enormous debt. We are committing so much money to this project when factors such as the future of our main hub airport and its location remain uncertain. I will continue to question this project at every step and will do all I can to secure the best outcome for my constituents and the country.”