'A growing Cabinet revolt is threatening to sink the HS2 rail link.
Ministers are alarmed by the project’s spiralling costs and are ‘increasingly minded to kill it off’, says a senior source.
Initially put at £33billion, the budget is thought to have soared to more than £60billion. Treasury insiders admit the scheme is being added to an audit of major capital projects in which its future will be assessed ‘from scratch’.
This means funding could be squeezed or stopped. An investigation screened tonight claims ministers fear that over a decade HS2 will cost up to £6billion a year – equal to the entire maintenance budget for the existing rail network.
Although ministers publicly insist it will go ahead, the Cabinet source told of rising dissent.
HS2 opponents are said to include Theresa May’s deputy David Lidington, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom. ‘There is concern across government at the way the project is being managed and at the way the projected costs are continuing to grow,’ the source said.
‘We are not yet at the final go/no-go decision but opposition is mounting.’
And last night a Department for Transport insider admitted that ‘scoping work’ had been commissioned to cut costs, which could include reducing the depth of cuttings and tunnels.
The Department for Transport said it did not recognise the figure of £6billion a year – equivalent to Network Rail’s annual budget for maintenance and upgrade work.'
Read more: Revealed: Mounting Cabinet revolt threatens to sink the HS2 rail link as ministers look to 'kill off' project after budget nearly doubles to £60billion
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