Andrew Bridgen calls for the HS2 white elephant to be scrapped as the costs will spiral to more than £100 billion; the money would be better spent on link improvements in the midlands and north such as reopening the Ivanhoe line in north-west Leicestershire.
HS2 is a white elephant that grows ever larger on huge amounts of taxpayers’ cash. Back in 2013, when the project was unveiled, I predicted to the then Secretary of State that its cost would spiral to £100 billion, and he laughed. He was quite right to laugh, because if it is completed it will clearly cost far more than £100 billion. Does the Minister agree that the best thing to do is to scrap this project, lifting the blight from the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who live along the route, and split the original budget between link improvements in the midlands and the north, such as reopening the Ivanhoe line in north-west Leicestershire?
HS2 has one budget: £55.7 billion. Constant speculation around the budget undermines confidence in a project that we should be proud of, considering the positive impact it will have on our communities. Tickets will be on sale several years from now, when the line is up and running. I do not doubt that, when the line is up and running, nobody will talk about this moment right here and now when every element of the project is being constantly undermined. It is not a white elephant. It is creating capacity, reducing journey times, creating jobs and increasing productivity. It is a project that we should be proud of.