Cutting HS2 is putting short term political expediency above long term national gain - Yorkshire Post Letters
Re: North may be sceptical of the PM's rail pledges - Bill Carmichael TYP, October 6.
Bill Carmichael is correct. The north is right to be sceptical of the Prime Minister's rail pledges.
He asks why rail projects cost so much more in Britain. A simple reason is Government. HS2 suffered from numerous scope and specification changes often after contracts were signed. As any contractor will tell you, at least in private, more money is made by catering for late changes in specifications.
It suffered from political vacillation. Seeing political uncertainty, contractors will factor in risk premiums to cover anticipated extra costs. Rishi Sunak's crass decision to axe HS2 will lead to increased costs on other contracts.
If a major flagship project can be axed then what are the chances of smaller schemes going the same way? Very high I suggest, Bill Carmichael is right to be suspicious.
As he points out, environmental objections have increased costs too/ Going through Conservative heartlands in the Chilterns has their MPs clamouring for more tunnelling and other environmental protection. These came at great expense.
There were faults too in the contracts. At least one industry insider says the contracts were too soft on contractors who could effectively rip off the public purse.
Rishi Sunak's decision is the worst possible outcome. There is no certainty that HS2 will reach Euston leaving a rump line between Acton and Birmingham few will want to use. The money spent so far will be a write off.
He's also handed Keir Starmer a gift. Selling land already earmarked for HS2 and cutting Euston to six platforms is the equivalent of a retreating army planting landmines to hold up the enemy.
Keir Starmer then didn't have to make a firm decision, something he seems to hate, he then had little choice but to say Labour would not go ahead with the scheme.
The Trans Pennine upgrade will need expensive tunnelling to be effective. How long before major modifications to the scheme are made, reducing its value? Not long to wait I fear.
Not for the first time a British Prime Minister has put short term political expediency above long term national gain.