In the UK, it appears that an important part of the HS2 high-speed line, the railway link between Birmingham and Manchester, will be cancelled. After all, costs are rising significantly, as the British media write. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to bury this part of the project next week.
The party’s conference is scheduled to be held in Manchester on October 1, and according to the Observer newspaper, a decision will be made by then. First, there will be consultations with British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt.
The extension of the HS2 line, which should connect London to Manchester, was given the green light by the government under Boris Johnson in 2020. The Conservatives had hoped to reduce the economic gap between London in the south of England and the more industrialized northern part. But an important part of the project, between the main cities of Birmingham and Manchester, is at risk of not being completed. The cost of the first phase, the link between London and Birmingham, was estimated at £45 billion, but is now expected to be £8 billion higher, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): “We have to look at the budget.” He pointed out that after the Corona crisis and the war in Ukraine, “every responsible government looks at this and wonders whether we should be spending our money in this place.”
Wasting tax money
However, dozens of business leaders warn that canceling part of the high-speed line would damage the UK’s reputation with potential investors. The Mayor of London warns that if the project is not fully implemented, it will make no sense and will be a waste of taxpayers’ money. The Birmingham-London high-speed line is at risk of being cut off in the capital’s western suburbs. In this way, the future route to central London will take longer than the current train connection.
The decision, if confirmed, comes just days after the British government decided to postpone a ban on the sale of fossil fuel cars for five years. British regulations regarding replacing natural gas and fuel oil boilers with heat pumps have also been relaxed.
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