Michael Gove has suggested capital investment for HS2 will be reviewed as he warned the Government has to make “painful” decisions.
Ahead of their autumn budget, the Prime Minister and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are said to be considering up to £50 billion of spending cuts and tax hikes to fill a gaping black hole in the nation’s finances.
Discussing the possible cuts on Times Radio’s Sunday Morning with Kate McCann and Adam Boulton, the Levelling Up Secretary was asked why not cut HS2, the Government’s major high speed rail line project.
Mr Gove said “I am sure everything will be reviewed” before adding “I do think HS2 is a significant investment…”
On whether the project is still worth it, even without its eastern leg, the Levelling Up Secretary said: “In a way your question is the answer, which is that we’ve already had to make economies.
“But I think long term capital investment in making sure this country is better connected is a good thing.
“And ideally, you don’t want to cut that long term capital investment because it helps contribute to economic growth and greater opportunity.
“But when we face the particularly economic problems that we have at the moment, I’m sure that some capital spending will be cut.”
Mr Gove insisted people “deserve the truth” which is “as a result of different factors, including mistakes that were made at the mini-budget, we have got to make some decisions, which will be painful”.
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant (Lichfield), a strong critic of HS2, retweeted Mr Gove’s comments, saying: “I hope it will not be too late to reconsider the line north of Birmingham through Lichfield.”