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HS2 expected to proceed following backing from Chancellor

Speculation as to whether High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) will proceed as planned has tipped in favour of the project going ahead after the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, has announced his support for the project in an article by the Financial Times today.

This announcement comes after the Financial Times also recently exposed the exponential cost increase of HS2 just weeks before the scheduled announcement of whether or not it will go forward, with this in turn having occurred after months of reviewing processes and government deliberation.

In this previous report, the Financial Times revealed that the predicted cost of delivering HS2 is expected to increase by a further 20 per cent from the previous estimate, which stated between £81Bn and £88Bn, to over £106Bn, after initial cost estimates stated £34Bn.

Furthermore, the Financial Times also unveiled how completion of the first section of HS2 was originally predicted for achievement in 2026, whereas the Manchester and Leeds branches were expected to be finished by 2032/33, however these deadlines have now been pushed back to 2031 and 2040 respectively.

Needless to say, the Government has had much to evaluate in order to come to a definitive decision on the fate of HS2, in regard to whether the benefits will outweigh the costs, but this recent revelation from Sajid Javid has provided near confirmation that the project will proceed.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has expressed that he has reservations over whether the project will proceed, but many now believe that Javid’s support, combined with the long-term benefits of HS2, will outweigh Shapps’ apprehension and will sway the Prime Minister’s decision which, according to reports, is expected “shortly”.

No formal decision has yet been made on the project but the general consensus is that it will now go ahead.

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