Petition Commit to a public review of HS2 project and suspend all on-going work now
A review of HS2 due to enormous changes in the last month, which significantly alter the basis on which the original decision was made.
The review should consider data on anticipated journeys, demands on public expenditure, increased national debt and the potential impact of Covid 19.
1. The pandemic has forced people to explore technology and the practicality of home working. This could change the justification for HS2;
2. The pandemic has highlighted investment needed in NHS. This investment should take priority to HS2;
3. The country is incurring enormous costs as a result of the pandemic. It is questioned we can now afford HS2;
4. Covid-19 has left a society shocked and emotionally shaken. The nation needs to heal; this project could lead to more division.
This response was given on 20 July 2020
The Government is doing whatever is necessary to deal with Covid-19, while continuing to invest in the country’s future infrastructure and level up the economy. That is why we are getting on with HS2.
The Government has taken unprecedented steps to support the economy and UK businesses at this difficult time and has made clear that it will do whatever is required to ensure that the NHS has the resources it needs.
The decision to proceed with the HS2 programme is just one part of a wider programme of investment to level-up the economy which includes capital expenditure on hospitals, schools and other critical national infrastructure.
Our absolute priority right now is on tackling the spread of COVID-19 to protect our NHS and save lives. But this does not mean we should delay work on our long-term plans to level up the country and build back better. HS2 will boost vital connectivity while rebalancing opportunity fairly across our towns and cities and supporting Government’s goal of reaching net-zero by 2050.
The decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, will provide thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it most. And when we made the decision to proceed with HS2 in February, this came alongside a package of reform measures to instil financial order and discipline to the project.
The long-term impact of COVID-19 on rail demand will not become clear for some time. The Notice to Proceed decision for HS2 Ltd was supported by the published Full Business Case which included tests of resilience against a range of demand scenarios encompassing plausible impacts of COVID-19 on passenger demand.
The case for HS2 is not just economic – it is key to achieving this government’s longer-term strategic goals to provide much needed long-term capacity to our railway network, level up our country and reach carbon net zero by 2050, which remain unchanged despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.
HS2 is a once in a generation investment in our nation’s transport infrastructure. We expect it to have a lasting impact on jobs, skills and businesses here in the UK. Over 2,000 companies already have contracts with HS2 representing over £20bn in investment with the supply chain and 98% of work awarded by HS2 Ltd has gone to UK based businesses.
That is why this government remains committed to HS2. It will drive the social, economic and environmental changes we want to see across the country. And it will help to power our national recovery as we emerge from this pandemic.
Department for Transport
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