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Government Delay of HS2 Report - 'Politically Motivated'

6 November 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has written to Douglas Oakervee, expressing concern after it emerged his Review of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project has been mothballed by the Government until after the general election.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, had indicated the Review would publish this Autumn. However, on Twitter, Lord Tony Berkeley, Deputy Chair of the Review, confirmed his work had finished, with no opportunity to influence conclusions and the Review would now be ‘locked into the vaults of the DfT’.

In the letter Cortes says:

‘It seems to me this decision is politically motivated – with the Conservatives happy to evade scrutiny and bury the Review before a general election.

‘My union did not wish to see a Review take place – as we strongly back the case for HS2 - but once underway it must be free from political interference.

‘The least we can expect is for it to be properly concluded and for its results to be published in full without delay.

‘My fear is that we are seeing a stitch up of the Review and the obstruction of work which could have made plain – even to the Tory shires - the need for a new high-speed rail link to northern cities and beyond.

‘Let me be frank - the delay in publishing the report is creating uncertainty and anxiety among our members. This is Britain's premier infrastructure project for the foreseeable future and we just have to get on with it as we are already in Europe's slow rail lane.

‘It's high time to lift our ambitions, stop the political squabbling and commit to building a high-speed rail network all the way to Scotland.’

The letter from Manuel Cortes follows disquiet in Parliament about the Government suppressing a report on alleged Russian interference in UK democracy until after the general election.

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