Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Ed Balls vows 'no blank cheque' for HS2 at Labour Party conference
SHADOW Chancellor Ed Balls said the controversial High Speed 2 rail project will not be given 'a blank cheque' if Labour wins the next General Election.
The scheme has been widely criticised for its spiralling construction costs and Mr Balls said the project had been 'totally mismanaged'.
Speaking at the Labour Party conference this week, Mr Balls said he and Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle would not spend 'irresponsibly' on the proposed transport link.
He said while the party - which first proposed HS2 when it was last in power - supported the idea of the new line, it would not be built at any cost.
The construction budget for HS2 was increased by almost £10billion to £42.6billion by Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin earlier this year. Rolling stock will cost extra.
Mr Balls said: "We support investment in better transport links for the future. We continue to back the idea of a new north/south rail link, but under this government the HS2 project has been totally mismanaged and the costs have shot up to £50billion.
"David Cameron and George Osborne have made clear they will go full steam ahead with this project, no matter how much the costs spiral up and up. They seem willing to put their own pride and vanity above best value for the taxpayer.
"Maria Eagle and I are clear we will not take this irresponsible approach.
"Let us be clear: in tough times, when there's less money around and a big deficit to get down, there will be no blank cheque from me as a Labour Chancellor for this project or any other project.
"The question is not just whether a new high speed rail line is a good idea or a bad idea, but whether it's the best way to spend £50billion for the future of the country."
Comments are closed on this article.