Costs for HS2 must be controlled

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High speed rail has dominated the headlines over the last few weeks. There are strongly held views on both sides of the fence, and I’ve had many constituents writing in to me about the proposed North-South line.

The line, if built, will reduce journey times with trains travelling at 250 MPH. The Government have estimated HS2 will create 100,000 jobs, provide much needed additional capacity on the rail network and generate many economic benefits.

Even more that that building a much needed rail line for the north and midlands is a statement of faith and confidence in our nation’s future, a signal that we are not going to roll over and die in the face of global competition.

I support the idea of a new North to South line, especially in light of capacity constraints on the existing rail network. We need to build a better rail network to bring Britain up to speed with other countries. But I have serious concerns about the Government’s handling of HS2, not least the enormous spiralling costs of the project – which are now at a staggering £50 billion.

I will only support HS2 if the costs are brought under control. If these conditions aren’t meant, I don’t believe going ahead with HS2 is the best thing for the country, or for taxpayers money. It is not the best way to spend £50 billion, unless that money delivers clear results which are beneficial. The Labour Party will table amendments to the High Speed Rail Bill to ensure this Government is delivering value for money, and I support these amendments.

The Government is planning to spend large amounts of money at a time when millions are facing the consequences of the Coalition’s cruel cuts, and many people in Nottingham North are faced with the tough decision of heating or eating this winter.

Good transport networks across the country are essential, but we must get the balance right between future economic growth and the current cost of living that is plaguing thousands of my constituents.