Labour: no blank cheque for HS2
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has insisted there will be no ‘blank cheque’ for HS2 after reports that the Labour Party would review the project, should it come to power after the general election in 2015
According to the AJ’s sister title Construction News, Balls said a Labour government would establish an independent infrastructure commission to ‘end dither and delay in infrastructure planning’.
He said the party supported a new north-south rail line but costs for HS2 had spiralled and there would be ‘no blank cheque’ for the project from a Labour administration.
He criticised the coalition government, which he said had ‘totally mismanaged’ the scheme.
He said: ‘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 money for the taxpayer.
‘Labour will not take this irresponsible approach. So let me be clear, in tough times – when there is 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 for any project.
‘Because the question is - not just whether a new High Speed line is a good idea or a bad idea, but whether it is the best way to spend £50 billion for the future of our country.’