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Public spending watchdog attacks HS2 rail project

The HS2 high-speed rail project has come under renewed attack by the Commons public accounts committee, who have accused the Department of Transport of failing to present a "convincing strategic case" for the £50 billion project.

The high-speed rail project has come under fresh attack from the Commons public accounts commitee

The public spending watchdog raised a number of questions about the apparent benefits and warned the costs were spiralling.

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HS2 will 'suck talent, jobs and people' out of the North says MP

Grimsby MP, Austin Mitchell, told members of the Public Accounts Committee last night that he saw no evidence that the £42 billion HS2 scheme would help to bridge the north-south divide.

Instead, he told the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Transport, Philip Rutnam, that he was 'trying to justify a policy, in principle, that was plucked out of the air,' (video below). Rutnam replied that it was an essential project as trains are filling up.

Government is "touting HS2 boondoggle"

George Osborne will try and say ,,, that we need infrastructure investments and therefore it follows that because HS2 is an infrastructure investment, we need HS2. This overly simplistic argument is now the only thing Government has got left to tout this boondoggle with because every other argument: that’s it’s needed for capacity, that it’s got green credentials, that it’ll be a magic wand to cure the north-south divide, that it’s got a good business case, or that other countries are doing it have been knocked down.

Every one of the stock arguments for HS2 has been knocked down, and all they have left is to stamp their feet and say ‘We want our train set.’”

– Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin

New attempt to block HS2

HS2 "white elephant" claims Credit: Calendar news

There's a new attempt today to block the controversial plans for the high speed railway connecting Yorkshire and London. Thirty five Tory MPs have signed a motion aimed at derailing legislation to pave the way for the new rail link which they claim will be an expensive white elephant.

The motion, signed by politicians from four parties reads: "This House declines to give a second reading to a Bill which authorises preparatory expenditure on a railway without specifying further detail of the route and a limit on expenditure."

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HS2 boss defends scheme

Ian Jordan, HS2 Ltd Director for Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow, defended the scheme after a village in North Yorkshire said it would blight their community in a meeting tonight.

He said: "HS2 will generate jobs and rebalance the country's economy, delivering a return on investment that will benefit regions like Yorkshire.

"Wherever practical, the route has been designed to minimise potential impacts on people and properties as well as important environmental features.

"The Government and HS2 Ltd will continue to work closely with communities and interested parties to refine plans to find the right balance between delivering essential infrastructure and respecting the rights and concerns of those most affected.

HS2 protestors say it is "worst thing since medieval battle"

Nearly 200 people packed out a public meeting to protest against a high speed rail link this evening.

Residents of Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, and surrounding villages turned out, with some saying the £33 billion scheme is a waste of money and a "white elephant".

Four properties will be knocked down to make way for the new line and campaigners say many more would be blighted by the noise of the 200 mph trains passing over the village on two 60ft tall viaducts.

Jo Mason, who set up an action group, said: "Since the Battle of Towton 552 years ago this is the worst thing that's happened to the village. It's playing politics with people's lives. It's about house prices. It's about protecting the environment. We have to do it together."

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