'The cost of buying the land for the first stretch of the HS2 rail link is likely to spiral to £5billion, campaigners warned last night.
That is nearly five times the original £1.1billion budget for purchasing properties along the route between London and Birmingham.
HS2 Ltd admitted yesterday that it has already spent more than £2.2billion – double its budget – even though fewer than half the affected plots, offices, shops, farms and houses have been bought.
The figures, revealed following a Freedom of Information request, led the Stop HS2 Bramley Action Group to claim the final bill for the purchases will hit £5billion.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said in September that the cost would be at least £3.3billion.
The Treasury has budgeted £4.3billion, just in case, but there are fresh fears that the total cost of Britain’s biggest infrastructure project will far exceed its revised £56billion budget, with some experts predicting a final cost of well over £100billion.
The figures, released a day after HS2 revealed plans for a £1billion ‘super-hub’ station at Old Oak Common in west London, show it has purchased 279 of the 368 residential homes it needs to buy, at a cost of £246.5million.
But only 466 of the 1,196 far more expensive commercial premises – including offices, shops and farms – have been bought at a cost of £1.8billion.
In addition to inflation, changes to the route made while the HS2 Bill was going through Parliament have increased costs.
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: ‘Yet again, when we find out more of the truth that they are trying to hide about HS2, we find out the costs have gone up by a couple of billion.
'This proves they are way behind schedule, but we will get the same old fingers-in-ears response that HS2 is “on time and on budget”.’
Read more: The £5BILLION HS2 property disaster: Buying land for the route is set 'to cost five times budget', campaigners warn
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