Balls raises fresh HS2 doubts

Ed Balls MP
Ed Balls MP

HS2’s supporters have failed to convince people that it is a good way to spend £50 billion, Labour’s Ed Balls has said.

The shadow chancellor has reignited speculation about Labour’s support for the controversial project, despite the party backing the HS2 paving bill which passed through Parliament last year.

Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Balls reiterated that there should be no ‘blank cheque for HS2’ and warned that costs have ‘spiralled out of control’.

Last year the budget for the line, which would cut through Aylesbury Vale, jumped from £33 billion.

Mr Balls said: “We need more capacity but there’s no blank cheque, the costs have spiralled out of control and we need to know this is the best way to spend a huge amount of public money.

“We supported HS2 but we need to make sure that the costs are down and that this is in the end the best way to spend the money and I don’t think that’s an argument which has yet been won by the supporters.”

The HS2 hybrid bill, essentially the planning application for the line, is currently passing through Parliament.