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HS2: Labour rules out reviving second phase

Sir Keir Starmer has dominated out reviving HS2’s second section if he wins energy on the subsequent basic election.

After a number of months throughout which his social gathering has not dedicated to a place on the megaproject since Rishi Sunak cancelled its northern leg in October, the Labour chief mentioned on Thursday (11 January) that it might now not be doable to reinstate the road.

In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, he famous the “bitter disappointment” that adopted the cancellation of the rail hyperlink, however mentioned it might not be introduced again.

“The federal government has blown the funds, the contracts are being cancelled, the land might or is probably not offered and I feel that it’s not honest for me to decide to one thing that I don’t suppose goes to occur,” he mentioned.

Pressed on whether or not he had undoubtedly dominated out the transfer, he added: “Yeah. It’s not going to occur.”

The federal government has not but offloaded the land it acquired for section 2a, which it had mentioned could be offered off as quickly as doable. This prompted press hypothesis final weekend that, if Labour gained energy, the brand new authorities may use the land to revive the road, however Starmer quashed the suggestion.

He additionally instructed the MEN that his social gathering was dedicated to Northern Powerhouse Rail however mentioned Labour was nonetheless deciding what that venture ought to represent.

“What I’ve executed with our mayors Andy (Burnham), Steve Rotheram over in Liverpool, Tracy Brabin over in [West] Yorkshire is to say – let’s all get collectively and say what does Northern Powerhouse Rail need to appear like,” he mentioned.

“I’ve dedicated to the idea, and to working with the native leaders to make sure that they’re happy.”

Last month the social gathering appointed former Siemens UK boss Juergen Maier to hold out a assessment of transport-infrastructure supply.

When he announced his decision to scrap HS2 phase 2a, prime minister Rishi Sunak mentioned the transfer would save £36bn that will as an alternative be funnelled to smaller, native transport initiatives.

He additionally mentioned a £12bn hyperlink between Manchester and Liverpool could be “protected” and that native leaders could be engaged “on how greatest to ship that scheme”.

On the time, Sunak additionally named a variety of different schemes into which funding would movement, however later mentioned that they had been “illustrative” of what might be executed with the money.

On Wednesday, HS2 interim chief govt Sir Jon Thompson mentioned inflation had pushed the price of the primary section of the venture as much as round £67bn, which is a few £8bn-£10bn larger than earlier estimates that had been said in 2019 costs. He outlined seven key reasons as to why the venture had exceeded its funds.