The chair of Transport for the North has said that HS2 needs to be completed in order to transform the north of England. This comes following news that construction of the section between Birmingham and Crewe will be delayed by two years.
In a statement made in response to the announcement, Lord McLoughlin also said that the completion of Northern Powerhouse Railway is important for the north. NPR is a new rail network for the North of England aimed at increasing the rail capacity for the 21st century.
The HS2 project has been riddled with setbacks over recent years. It is expected that the project could cost as much as £71 billion.
On the HS2 announcement, Lord McLoughlin said: “This is a disappointing announcement. But I was reassured by the Transport Secretary that we are still getting HS2 to Manchester, and the recommitment to NPR is welcome.
“However, it needs to be understood whether or not these cost savings can be realised while still achieving the same desired outcome and conditional outputs. The government needs to avoid being penny wise and pound foolish, as delays don’t necessarily lead to savings, and in fact can drive costs upwards.
“Nevertheless, the political leaders of the North who sit on our Board have made their collective position very clear - we must transform the North by building both HS2 and NPR in full.
“Taken together, both projects unlock the North’s economy from the existing position of poor infrastructure that has held it back. It is the communities and businesses across the North of England who are suffering most by any delay or inaction in delivering on these schemes.”