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High Speed 2 chiefs: Delays could jeopardise scheme
HIGH Speed 2 bosses have expressed fears the £33bn rail scheme could be in 'jeopardy' because of delays in the Government releasing cash.
And directors have also stated the chances of it going through Parliament on time as planned next year could be put at 'major risk'.
Government Ministers set a deadline of the end of 2013 for the Hybrid Bill but HS2 chiefs believe more hold ups could threaten this, official documents show.
The Treasury had not granted approval for certain aspects of procurement for the project, the minutes for a February board meeting revealed.
The project has come under closer financial scrutiny recently after The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee recently slammed the project.
The Major Projects Authority has put the scheme on an amber/red alert, meaning its successful delivery is in doubt, with major risks raised.
Rhona Crawford, spokesman for HS2 Ltd, said however that approval was granted shortly after that meeting took place and it began awarding contracts in February.
She said: "There was a short delay in receiving approval to proceed with the awarding of Professional Services contracts, which was discussed by the Board in January.
“It remains our aim to deposit the hybrid bill at the end of 2013."
Campaigners have long stressed it is not simply about where the route is going after accusations they are simply NIMBYs.
Martin Tett Buckinghamshire County Council Leader and Chairman of 51m, the coalition of councils against HS2, has continually insisted the numbers do not add up.
Leading campaigner Councillor Seb Berry, elected as an independent on an ant-HS2 platform in Great Missenden, said the argument on finances is beginning to be heard.
He said: “I think the penny finally appears to be dropping inside government that there are very serious flaws with the business case.
“Developments in recent weeks, not least the roasting that Department for Transport officials got at the public accounts committee and the Major Projects Authority amber-red rating, show that there is now gathering momentum for the campaign against Hs2."