Rising project costs are due to ongoing inflationary pressures in the economy, with higher costs in the construction industry driven in large part by global energy prices. Government has to face these inflationary effects on its committed national investment projects, just as it has done with consumer energy costs.
Construction of the London-West Midlands part of the route is fully underway. A forced slow-down or delay will:
- itself add to overall project costs: ‘standing by’ is not free, and building later means building at a higher price
- bring an end to the private sector-led mini-boom led already taking place in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands and following on in the North West
- extend the period of disruption for local communities.
Re-specifying or simply delaying the project will mean in effect loosening proper controls on the project and we desperately need the growth and productivity benefits HS2 will bring in order to fight the cost of living crisis . In future it will always be said that HM Treasury is partially to blame for its lateness and overspend.
Governments have continuously committed to the delivery of the project, and now is the time to re-affirm this commitment and deliver for the whole nation and build HS2 in full and on time.