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We need certainty surrounding HS2, say unions

TRADE unionists called on the government to bring “certainty” to the railway industry today after a new report said there was no way of knowing how much the final cost of HS2 will be. 

A report from National Audit Office warned yesterday that it was impossible to “estimate with certainty” the final cost of the long-delayed rail project.

Last week, a government-commissioned report claimed that the cost may be to the tune of £106 billion.

Despite being given £56bn by the government in 2015, the rail project has been hit with major delays. 

Phase One of HS2, a new high-speed line between London and Birmingham, was due to open in 2026, but this is now set to be delayed until between 2031 and 2036.

The report also found that HS2 Ltd had used “inappropriate” financial calculations at the early stage of the project, leading to subsequent financial and personnel problems, and called for “transparency” in the company’s overall operations.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said that the “dithering” over HS2 must end.

“We must end the paralysis and seize the ambition of HS2 which will cut our carbon emissions, massively upgrade our rail infrastructure and bring investment to the Midlands and northern England.

“Give our industry the certainty it needs by making it crystal clear that HS2 will go ahead at least as far as Leeds and Manchester.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said the government was “already acting” on the report’s recommendations.

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