Hunt quashes reports HS2 will stop at Old Oak Common

He said that he did not see “any conceivable circumstances” where the line wouldn’t run on into Euston but didn’t comment on the timescale.

The newspaper reported HS2 chiefs were weighing up a scaling back of the project where costs have risen to £60bn. The options being considered include delaying its Euston terminus to 2038 or scrapping it altogether.

It reported a two to five-year delay to the entire project is being considered, with fresh fears the Birmingham to Crewe and Manchester legs will also be scrapped.

Earlier, in a speech setting out his long-term vision for economic growth, the Chancellor said the country needed the connectivity that came from better infrastructure.

He said the government was “absolutely committed to showing that we can deliver big important infrastructure projects”.

“That is why in the Autumn Statement we protected key projects like HS2, East West Rail and core Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

Stephen Marcos Jones, CEO of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), said:  “We have already spent significant sums on the design and delivery of this transformational major project which will bring some of our major economic areas closer together, help to relieve capacity across the entire rail network, and ensure we can create a carbon friendly alternative to domestic air travel.

“Last minute changes of this nature will do nothing but add complication, delay and expense to the project where construction has already started. Scaling back its ambition further, at this stage, will just mean the economic and social benefits of HS2 for communities across the UK is further watered down.

“Our national infrastructure should not become a political football. We need to ensure that major projects can proceed confidently if they are – ultimately – to be successful.

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