January 29, 2020
Chancellor Sajid Javid is set to throw his weight behind the controversial HS2 rail project.
HS2: Chancellor Sajid Javid Set To Back High Speed Rail Project
Javid is minded to support the high speed train initiative at a meeting with prime minister Boris Johnson and transport secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday.
Multiple outlets have reported that having reviewed costs and alternatives the chancellor will “broadly back” the high-speed line from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
Shapps has insisted that no decision on the controversial infrastructure project – the biggest in Europe – will be announced this week.
It has been estimated the scheme, which was allocated £56 billion in 2015, could cost up to £106 billion.
The prime minister told the Commons on Wednesday that a decision on the project would be made “very shortly”.
He said: “I just want to reassure all of my honourable friends and everybody, whatever persuasion they may be about HS2 across this Chamber, that there will be an announcement and a decision very shortly.”
Some £8 billion has already been spent on the scheme.
The meeting comes as Javid has put pressure on cabinet colleagues to identify where cuts of 5% could be made in their departmental budgets.
In a letter, co-signed by Johnson, the chancellor urged ministers to identify projects that could be abandoned ahead of his first budget as chancellor in March.
The intervention was seen at Westminster as a bid to find resources to fund Tory election promises on infrastructure, health and law and order.Related... Tory Divisions On HS2 Laid Bare As Boris Johnson Promises Decision 'Very Shortly' Can Tory MPs - Or Donald Trump - Trust A Word Boris Johnson Says On Huawei? Tories Split On HS2 Amid Warning That Costs Could Spiral To £106bn
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