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Labour welcomes greater HS2 connectivity in the north

Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to David Higgins’ report into HS2, has welcomed his strong focus on the steps the Government needs to take to get High Speed 2 back on track and ensure value for money".

David Higgins has made it clear that there are significant savings to be made if David Cameron gets a grip of this project and stops all these delays.

On Phase Two, we are glad that more work will be done to link HS2 with future rail investment and that the greater focus we have been calling for on connectivity between our northern cities has replaced the Government’s previous take it or leave it approach.

That is how we ensure the maximum benefits for the whole country from this project while we pressure the Government to keep the costs down.

– Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary

HS2 boss to say he would like to start second phase

Launching his report in Manchester, Sir David Higgins, HS2's recently appointed chairman, will say that he would like work to start on the second phase at the same time as the first phase.

An anti HS2 sign in Whittington, Staffordshire. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The second phase, taking the line in a Y-shape to north west and north east England is set for completion around 2032/33. He is also expected to recommend a completely new station at Euston - the site for the line's London terminus.

Sir David, the former London Olympics supremo who has joined HS2 Ltd after being Network Rail chief executive, is also expected to recommend scrapping plans to link HS2 with HS1, the London to Kent coast Channel Tunnel high-speed line.

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Cable: 'Compelling case' to speed up HS2 extension

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there is a "compelling case" to speed up the extension of the controversial HS2 high speed rail link to the cities of the north.

Business Secretary Vince Cable with David Cameron at a 10 Downing Street reception last summer. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

His intervention came as HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins prepared to outline his plan for an accelerated construction timetable while reducing the cost of the #50 billion infrastructure project.

Sir David, who will publish his report on later, will also issue an appeal to the main political parties to unite behind the scheme.

Read: Vince Cable - 'Compelling case' to speed up HS2 extension

Read: HS2 chairman to announce recommendations but no new cuts

Cable: 'Compelling case' to speed up HS2 extension

Vince Cable has said there is a "compelling case" to speed up the extension of the controversial HS2 high speed rail link to the cities of the north.

Business Secretary Vince Cable. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Business Secretary's intervention came as HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins prepared to outline his plan for an accelerated construction timetable while reducing the cost of the £50 billion infrastructure project.

Sir David, who will publish his report on Monday, will also issue an appeal to the main political parties to unite behind the scheme.

Britain cannot afford HS2, says UKIP leader Nigel Farage

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said Britain "simply can't afford" the £50 billion bill for the proposed High Speed 2 rail project.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage says Britain cannot afford the High Speed 2 rail project
UKIP leader Nigel Farage says Britain cannot afford the High Speed 2 rail project Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He said his party had "more common sense" than political rivals which support the scheme, and instead called for existing lines to be upgraded.

"We recognise that the country's skint and we simply can't afford to spend £50 billion on a project that will only benefit a small percentage of travelling customers in this country," Mr Farage said.

Mr Farage, an MEP, was speaking as the start of UKIP's European parliamentary election campaign in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, one of the towns directly affected by the proposed HS2 routes.

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HS2 report a 'cheerleading whitewash', say campaginers

The report into the viability of HS2 is a "cheerleading whitewash" and only heard from "people who support" the London to Birmingham rail link, according to activists.

Campaign manager for the Stop HS2 group Joe Rukin said:

Unlike the public accounts committee and treasury committee hearings on HS2, it was clear that this inquiry was going to be a cheerleading whitewash when the transport committee only called people who support HS2 to give evidence.

Despite the official cost of HS2 standing at £50 billion, the committee want to pretend it is £28 billion, even though they said it would be £34 billion in 2011.

In saying this and telling the DfT they should abandon their standard assessments to improve the case for HS2, they are effectively ordering the Government to 'spin harder' on HS2.

– Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin

MPs: HS2 will meet 'growing demand' for train use

HS2 will deliver "the step change in capacity" needed to support growing demand from both passengers and freight, according to the head of the transport committee.

Chairwoman Louise Ellman said if taxpayers were to reap the full benefits of HS2, it was "vital" links were improved between regular and high-speed rail networks.

We remain confident that construction of a new high speed line is the only way to deliver the step change in capacity on the West Coast Main Line needed to accommodate long-term demand for both passengers and rail freight.

If we are to spread the benefits from HS2 as widely as possible, it is vital we improve links between the conventional and high-speed networks and bring forward projects to speed up journey times on the conventional network.

– transport select committee chairwoman louise ellman

The cost of the HS2 project

One bone of contention for anti-HS2 campaigners has been the cost of the project, with the Taxpayers' Alliance dubbing the project a "white elephant".

In June the transport secretary told the commons HS2 would go £10bn over the original budget of £33bn to cover "contingency costs".

  • The projected cost of the whole projects is now £42.6bn
  • A total of £7.5bn needed for the purchase of high-speed trains.
  • £14.56bn of the overall cost will be set aside for contingency costs.
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