‘Stop wasting money!’

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‘Stop wasting money!’ Fury at eye-watering £106billion cost of HS2 rail link – poll

THE eye-watering £106billion cost for the HS2 high-speed rail link has sparked outrage, with Express.co.uk readers demanding the hugely expensive project is scrapped.

An unpublished Government review seen by the Financial Times has warned there is a “considerable risk” the cost of the project could increase further by £20billion. The review, conducted by former HS2 chairman Doug Oakervee, found costs could spiral by up to 20 percent beyond the £81billion-£88billion estimate made by current HS2 chairman Allan Cook just four months ago. HS2 was allocated a budget of just £56billion in 2015.

Now in an Express.co.uk poll, readers have demanded the expensive scheme be ditched, raging it is a huge waste of money.

The poll, which ran from 12.30pm until 8.10pm on Monday January 20, saw 5,152 votes cast, asked: “Should the HS2 rail link go ahead even if it costs £106billion?”

A huge 83.8 percent (4,319 readers) said it should not go ahead, while just 15.4 percent (795 readers said it should be given the green light. The remaining 0.8 percent (38 readers) were undecided.

Express.co.uk readers lashed out at the inflated cost of the scheme, demanding it be binned and the huge sum of money spent elsewhere.

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HS2 news: Express.co.uk readers have lashed out at the potential huge cost of the project (Image: GETTY / PA)

hs2 train

HS2 news: The review found costs could spiral by up to 20 percent beyond the
£81billion-£88billion estimate (Image: PA )

One said: “HS2 is a wicked waste of money.

“The longer this charade continues the greater the waste of cash.

“Scrap it now and instead improve the rest of the network and restore the lines that deprived many large communities of their rail link.”

Another reader estimated if HS2 gets the go-ahead, the final bill will almost double to around £200billion.

They wrote: “Lots of better ways to spend a £100B to improve transport. Saving a few minutes on a railway journey will deliver no value.

“If this stupid vanity project ever goes ahead I bet the final bill will be closer to £200billion and all it will deliver for the public is unaffordable ticket prices.”

One reader raged at the huge cost reducing journey times by just 20 minutes, and believes it could take “hundreds of years” to recover the investment.

They commented: “Thousands of millions of pounds to shave 20 minutes time off of a journey that only a comparatively small number of people will ever take. This money could be spent in far better ways.

“I would like to know, given the predicted ticket price and the expected number of journeys, how many hundreds of years it will be before the cost is recovered.”

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HS2 news: The project was allocated a budget of just £56billion in 2015 (Image: GETTY)

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HS2 news: Andy Burnham described the leak of the report and potential cost as ‘quite worrying’ (Image: GETTY)

A fourth reader believed the £106billion would be better spent on much-needed improvements to the NHS and education system, raging HS2 will price out Britons earning an average wage.

They said: “How many hospitals, GP surgeries, schools, doctors and nurses could we supply for that £106billion?

“All so the rich can cut 20 minutes off their train journeys from London to the North and for a train that NO ONE on ordinary wages could afford to ride on!”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham described the leak of the report and potential cost as “quite worrying” and claimed that using conventional lines in the North would be a “second-class option”.

A separate report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found the pledge from Boris Johnson to build 40 new NHS hospitals would be less than a quarter of the cost of HS2.

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HS2 news: Where does your rail fare go? (Image: EXPRESS)

The think tank said the cost of building 40 hospitals by 2030 could reach £24billion.

Less than one percent of the estimated cost of HS2 could fund the cost of 6,000 more police officers on Britain’s streets.

Despite the huge costs involved, the report recommended the Government should “on balance” continue with the 250mph railway.

The major infrastructure project aims to connect London’s Euston station to Birmingham by 2026.

The Department for Transport has said up to 14 trains per hour would run in each direction – slashing journey times from one hour 21 minutes to 52 minutes.

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HS2 news: Grant Shapps said the ‘massive decision’ on whether to go ahead with HS2 ‘needs to be fact-based’ (Image: PA)

The second phase, which will run from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, is expected to be completed by 2040 – seven years behind the original target.

The new high-speed trains are predicted to cut journey times from Manchester to London by 60 minutes, to just one hour seven minutes.

Birmingham to Leeds would take 49 minutes, down from two hours.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the “massive decision” on whether to go ahead with HS2 “needs to be fact-based”.

More info: Express.co.uk

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