Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
21 June 2021updated 04 Sep 2021 1:18pm

How the cost of HS2 has surged

The high-speed rail project is now expected to cost at least £107.7bn, up from £32.7bn in 2012. 

The cost of HS2 – the planned high-speed railway line linking London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – has increased by £1.7bn in the past year. The rise, revealed to the Financial Times by sources close to the project, is linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Social distancing measures and suspension of work have reduced productivity and forced delays. 

How the cost of HS2 keeps rising
HS2 estimated budget (£bn)
Financial Times, HS2 Ltd, Oakervee Review

The current budget estimate is the latest in a series of cost increases since the contentious project was first proposed more than a decade ago. An initial budget estimate in 2012 of £32.7bn had risen to almost £56bn by the time of the 2015 government spending review. In 2020 an independent review of the project by the engineer Douglas Oakervee found that the cost could reach as much as £106bn. 

Opposition to the project, which received final approval from Boris Johnson’s government in February 2020, has been growing. Local anger about HS2 was a factor in the Conservatives’ dramatic defeat by the Liberal Democrats in the Chesham and Amersham by-election on 17 June. 

Critics of the line fear its potential impact on the environment and that it could further reinforce London’s dominance. But supporters argue HS2 is essential for additional rail capacity.

A spokesman for HS2 said: “The FT reports today imply that the project’s budget has gone up by £1.7bn, this is categorically not the case.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday - from the New Statesman. The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

“The HS2 budget for Phase One remains at £44.6bn. This includes contingency, including unforeseen events like Covid-19. HS2 remains well within this budget and is not forecast to go above it as things stand. It does not require any extra money from the Treasury.”

Content from our partners
What is the point of inheritance tax?
How to win the next election? It's the data, stupid
Businesses must unlock the regional growth agenda