Government urged to "kill the speculation" over HS2

The High Speed Rail Group is demanding answers from the Government, following widespread reports HS2’s Northern rail route could be scrapped.

The group, which represents companies with an interest in high speed rail, and is committed to supporting the successful delivery of a world-class high speed rail network in Britain, noted the “Government’s failure to explicitly commit to delivering the line to Manchester" in the House of Commons yesterday.

Questions were raised in Parliament after The Independent reported documents had been drafted up to cost the closure of the Northern rail route and presented to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. 

The High Speed Rail Group raised concerns for the 30,000 men and women working to deliver HS2, with a question mark over “whether they will be allowed to complete the job they have started”.

“Were phase 2 to be cancelled, it would be a disaster for the North and the Midlands,” a spokesperson for the group said. 

“After 13 years during which the Government has promoted the project, it would also be the ultimate U-turn.  

“The Government needs to kill the speculation and make its intentions clear, and it ought to commit clearly and unambiguously to delivering the project as planned. 

“The 30,000 people delivering HS2 deserve this. Our future generations deserve this. The North and Midlands deserve this.”

HS2 Limited declined to comment, while the group also highlighted investment in better connectivity across the whole UK will grow the economy. 

“Only by delivering high speed rail right across the North, can we unlock all of the jobs, investment and economic growth HS2 can offer,” the spokesperson for the High Speed Rail Group said.

“We urge the Government to continue to listen to people in the North and the Midlands who deserve the widespread economic benefits this project is already delivering and commit to it being delivered in full.”

High Speed Rail Group has also cited a recent YouGov poll, claiming support for the project halves without building the line to Manchester. 

The group’s members have helped deliver major infrastructure projects in the UK and around the world, ranging from creating entirely new high speed networks through to maintaining and improving the UK’s existing rail network. 

The group believes this gives it a unique insight into both the shortcomings in the current network, and the transformative capacity and connectivity benefits that HS2 could bring. 

Expertise in the group includes engineering, operations, funding and regulation.

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