HS2 chairman Allan Cook has written to the Department for Transport to say the high-speed line cannot be delivered within its £56bn budget and warned its cost could rise by £30bn. The new rail service is expected to reduce the cost of a journey from London to Birmingham by around 30 minutes.
The news has had mixed reviews among MP’s with Employment Minister Alok Sharma praising the extra work the project has now created, but Women’s Minister Penny Mordaunt saying, ‘If you’re going to be disappointed at the end anyway, you may as well get it over with quickly.’
The DfT said a review of HS2’s costs is continuing,
although there has been a slight delay to the review while Mr Cook’s PA tries to find a luxury hotel with a Michelin Star buffet for the important meeting to discuss why the project has run over budget.
An HS2 spokesman said. ‘We are determined to deliver a railway that rebalances the economy, creates jobs, boosts economic growth and is value for money for taxpayers.
But if that fails, we’re happy to settle for one which damages the economy, creates redundancies, and creates huge profits for shareholders, selected MPs and Allan Cook.’
Allan Cook was appointed to head HS2 in December 2018, on a salary of £950 per day, after his predecessor, Sir Terry Morgan, resigned as chairman due to delays at the Crossrail project in London which he was also leading.
Mr Cook has said that there is no time limit to the review and he will happily be paid £950 per day of tax payers money for ‘as long as is necessary’ to find the underlying reason for the financial mismanagement of the project so far.