HS2 to Manchester is set to be axed, reports claim

A newspaper report is claiming that HS2 between the West Midlands and Manchester is set to be axed.

The Independent alleges that the Prime Minister and Chancellor have discussed cancelling Phase 2 to release money to fund tax cuts before the next election.

It would be the second time that the project has been reduced, after HS2 to Leeds was cut back to East Midlands Parkway in November 2021.

Construction of Phase 1 between London and Birmingham is continuing, but the section between Euston and Old Oak Common is also in doubt, after construction was officially paused for two years in the spring, amid confusion and debate over the plans for High Speed platforms at Euston.

During Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons yesterday, Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant asked: ‘HS2 is the most dysfunctional organisation I have ever had to deal with. Will the Prime Minister, in the short term, try to restructure HS2 so that it works as a company should? In the longer term, can he save other constituencies by stopping HS2 at the end of phase 1?’

However, Mr Sunak said only that he understood the ‘frustrations’ that HS2 construction was causing in Lichfield, and that ‘the Transport Secretary will continue to hold [HS2] to account’.

Phase 1 between London and Birmingham was planned to open in 2026, but that is now not expected to happen until 2029.

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