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The Transport Committee to hear reports on future of the high speed rail project

MPS on the Transport Committee will today hear an update on the high speed rail service. David Higgins, Chair of the HS2 ltd and Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury of the HS2 Growth task force will give separate reports,

Yesterday the Government announced plans to scrap the proposal to link the High Speed two rail route with the Channel tunnel train line at St Pancreas. This was after David Higgins questioned the possibility of the route in his report to the Government released last week.

David Higgins also asked in his report for the building on the Northern section of the high speend rail project to be accelerated. The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has asked the H2S task force to look into what is achievable in this sector.

Changes to HS2 like "putting lipstick on a pig"

Proposed changes to the HS2 high speed rail link amount to "putting lipstick on a pig", a Tory former Cabinet minister has said.

Cheryl Gillan, a long-standing HS2 critic, said proposals being considered by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to finish phase two of the #50 billion project earlier and remove the London link to HS1 were inadequate.

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No increases in spending on HS2, Osborne warns

George Osborne says he will not sanction any increases to the £50bn HS2 budget. Credit: Christopher Furlong/PA Archive

Chancellor George Osborne has welcomed Sir David Higgins' recommendations for HS2, but warned there will be "no increases" in spending on the £50 billion poject.

Mr Osborne described the high-speed project as "essential to the future of this country".

However, he cautioned: "We must be conscious of the price, and there will be no increases to the overall spending envelope set for HS2 at the last spending review."

Earlier today, Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh said there would be no "blank cheque" for the project.

Ms Creagh told BBC Radio 4's The World At One that Labour would be supporting the hybrid bill due to come before parliament but argued that the project had "suffered from mismanagement".

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Government hopes HS2 bill will 'proceed quickly'

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin at the proposed site of the HS2 East Midlands Hub in Long Eaton Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Plans to speed up the development of HS2 and extend it to the north more quickly have been backed by the government.

Asked whether the coalition would take action to accelerate the passage of the HS2 Bill through Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "We want it to proceed as quickly as it can, but it is obviously a very lengthy Bill."

Earlier today, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said Sir David Higgins' proposals for HS2 had the "strong support" of the government.

The government has also scrapped a proposed £700m scheme to link HS2 with the existing HS1 route to Brussels.

The government will instead look at other ways of linking HS2 with the continent.

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