Rail union TSSA today blasted Rishi Sunak for “letting Britain down” over HS2.
This comes amid reports in the press that the Prime Minister is set to scrap the crucial Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2.
TSSA Interim Joint General Secretary Peter Pendle said, “This is a bad decision from a Conservative party that doesn’t understand economic growth. Rishi Sunak isn’t just letting down the Midlands and the North of England by cutting the Manchester leg of HS2. He’s letting down all of Britain.
“I always knew the Conservatives have no idea how to run a railway but clearly they don’t know how to build one either.
“The truth is, the line from Birmingham to London is within the annual budget set by the Government. Questions are rightly being asked about the impact of inflation and estimated costs from Birmingham to Manchester. But that doesn’t mean the Conservatives should cancel critical infrastructure investment because of Sunak’s short term politics. Each delay just costs more, as we saw at Euston costing £366 million to down tools.
“The country needs long term decision making to address long term challenges to attract investment, increase productivity and truly achieve the ‘leveling up’ of our towns and cities. Our country needs both spending on local transport and long term investment to build our future transport network.
“It is not clear what Sunak is trying to achieve, with the clock ticking on land powers between Birmingham and Crewe, and significant construction already underway north of Birmingham. The Government is literally paying contractors to hang around when they should be building Britain's future. No wonder we have a productivity problem.
Notes to editors
HS2 Phase One runs from London Euston to Birmingham and onward to connect with the West Coast Mainline near Handsacre in Staffordshire, with construction already well underway. This includes 3 new high speed stations at Old Oak, Birmingham Airport and Birmingham Curzon Street, and redevelopment of London Euston. The Handsacre connection to the West Coast Mainline also enables HS2 services to Stafford, Stoke on Trent and Macclesfield.
HS2 Phase 2a connects Handsacre to Crewe and the Act of Parliament for its construction received Royal Assent in 2022. Powers to acquire land expire in 2027.
HS2 Phase 2b connects Crewe with Manchester with the Bill currently in Parliament, with a significant section required for Northern Powerhouse Rail, including new high speed stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly. It will reduce journey time to London Euston by 1 hour and bring Birmingham within 45 minutes.