Government 'wasted' £50m on ditched HS2 high speed rail link to Scotland

The plans would have seen the super fast train line extended to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

UK Government accused of ‘wasting’ more than £50m over ditched HS2 train link with Scotland iStock

The UK Government has been accused of having “wasted” more than £50m over a ditched plan to extend HS2 to Scotland.

The Golborne Link had been intended to connect the high speed rail line with the existing west coast line which runs from Manchester to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

However, it was announced in June that the link would be removed from the Government’s plans, with alternative options to be explored.

According to a freedom of information request, between 2015 and 2021, an estimated £52m was spent by the Department for Transport on feasibility and development work on the link.

The Government has described HS2 as a “once-in-a-lifetime” project that will “transform travel” across the entire UK.

However, the Union Connectivity Review led by independent chair Sir Peter Hendy found that the link would not resolve rail capacity constraints between Crewe and Preston.

Ministers have outlined a commitment to look at alternatives that could deliver similar benefits to Scotland as the Golborne Link.

The Department for Transport told STV News that Scotland “will benefit” from HS2 with services between Glasgow and London.

The SNP described HS2 as a “vanity project” for the UK Government.

The party’s MSP for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn Bob Doris criticised ministers for having “frittered away” the £52m sum.

“The Tory UK government has yet again wasted millions of pounds on a broken promise to Scotland,” he said.

“We can throw the HS2 link to Glasgow on the scrapheap of broken promises like the Boris bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“Just like the rest of HS2 it has well and truly over-promised and under-delivered, wasting millions of taxpayers money along the way.

“The £52m frittered away by the Tories would have been of better use improving connectivity across Scotland and not on their HS2 vanity project, which Scotland will now never see the benefits of.

“That is why under Westminster control we cannot trust the UK government to improve Scotland’s connectivity and the only way to do it is by becoming an independent country.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport responded “These claims are false and misrepresent the issue at hand.

“In fact, Scotland will benefit from HS2 with services between Glasgow and London, underlining our commitment to building stronger transport connections across the UK.

“Removing the Golborne link enables us to explore alternative options to ensure Scotland gets the right solution when it comes to HS2, while delivering for the taxpayer within the £96bn Integrated Rail Plan.”

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