Update: 04/10/2023 - In his speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester Rishi Sunak announced the cancellation of the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2
This poll is now closed, but comments are still welcome. It received 1,134 votes. 46.74 % thought the section shouldn't be cancelled; 34% thought the whole scheme should be scrapped; 19 per cent agree with the PM's decision
Amidst mounting concerns over the spiraling cost of the HS2 project (with some reports suggesting that it could ultimately exceed £100bn) UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is now said to be considering axing the link between Birmingham and Manchester.
According to various reports, Sunak is thought to be considering investing money saved by cancelling the Birmingham Manchester link in a series of transport improvements across the North: including increased investment in Northern Powerhouse Rail, as well new bus and tram services. However, many industry insiders have reacted furiously to this possibility, claiming that the decision undermines the government’s claimed commitment to levelling up. Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has even warned the government that the Greater Manchester authority could sue if the northern leg of the scheme is scrapped.
There are also still questions over whether the first section of the line (which is already under construction) will end at Old Oak Common in West London , rather than Euston, as per the original plan.
It’s not clear exactly when - or even if - a fresh announcement on the project will be forthcoming. And although the government may now be backed into a corner on the issue, it will be desperate to avoid using the Conservative party conference (which takes place from 1st to 4th October in Manchester) to announce the cancellation of a rail line to the same city.
In this week’s poll we’re asking for your view on this latest twist in the HS2 saga. Do you believe the Birmingham to Manchester leg should still go ahead? Do you think it should be cancelled? Or do you think the whole scheme should be cancelled? Cast your vote now and as always do please expand on your thoughts in the comments box below the line.