Ministers delay decision on £27billion worth of HS2 spending over worries about the project’s costs

Ministers have delayed approval for HS2 spending over worries about the project’s mounting costs.

A formal ‘notice to proceed’ on major construction works for the first phase of the high-speed railway has been put back by six months until December.

The Government-owned firm in charge of the project is now likely to fall short of its aim of starting work on bridges and tunnels later this year. 

The delay means the firm cannot sign major contracts for the construction of phase one lines, stretching from London to Birmingham. Work on phase two, connecting Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester, is not due to begin until 2024 [File photo]

The delay means the firm cannot sign major contracts for the construction of phase one lines, stretching from London to Birmingham. Work on phase two, connecting Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester, is not due to begin until 2024 [File photo]

The delay means the firm cannot sign major contracts for the construction of phase one lines, stretching from London to Birmingham. Work on phase two, connecting Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester, is not due to begin until 2024 [File photo]

The order, which would have provided up to £27billion, had been scheduled for June.

However, it is understood HS2 Ltd is struggling to keep costs contained within the overall budget of £56billion.

The delay means the firm cannot sign major contracts for the construction of phase one lines, stretching from London to Birmingham. 

Work on phase two, connecting Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester, is not due to begin until 2024.

A Whitehall source told The Sunday Telegraph Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, had made ‘very clear to HS2’ must stick to budget. 

HS2 Ltd said it was still negotiating with contractors and hoped to receive ‘notice to proceed’ later this year, while the Department for Transport said it was ‘constantly assessing’ how to deliver value for public money.

A formal ‘notice to proceed’ on major construction works for the first phase of the high-speed railway has been put back by six months until December [File photo]

A formal ‘notice to proceed’ on major construction works for the first phase of the high-speed railway has been put back by six months until December [File photo]

A formal ‘notice to proceed’ on major construction works for the first phase of the high-speed railway has been put back by six months until December [File photo]

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