Nicola Sturgeon teams up with Andy Burnham in bid to force Sunak to give Scotland £3BILLION in extra money

Nicola Sturgeon has teamed up with Andy Burnham.
Nicola Sturgeon has teamed up with Andy Burnham.

Scotland was snubbed in a revision of HS2 plans last year as the project looked to save money on its spiralling costs

Published

Nicola Sturgeon has teamed up with Andy Burnham as the pair attempt to force Rishi Sunak to give Scotland £3billion in order to extend the controversial HS2 route.

The duo are hoping that they will be able to force ministers to throw even more money at the project to get the service running up to Scotland.

In an update to Parliament in November, Trade Secretary Mark Harper said HS2 Ltd is projecting around £1.9billion of “net additional cost pressures” for Phase One between London and the West Midlands.

The total is partly due to additional design costs, lower-than-planned productivity and difficulties developing Euston station.

Now, Sturgeon and Burnham will urge ministers to extend the service to Scotland after it was announced the Government was axing the “Golborne Link” which would have connected HS2 to the west coast main line.

The west coast main line runs through both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The link was removed from the HS2 Phase 2b Bill despite it being included in the Integrated Rail Plan for transforming the rail network in the North and the Midlands.

Construction on the Golborne Link was due to start in the early 2030s, with the connection expected to open towards the end of that decade or in the early 2040s.

The cuts were made in order to save money on the spiralling costs of the project, but released documents show Sturgeon and Burnham piling the pressure on Westminster to use the £3billion in savings on a connecting line.

Meeting notes dating back to August show “HS2 and connectivity towards Scotland” was a priority in their discussions

In an update to Parliament in November, Trade Secretary Mark Harper said HS2 Ltd is projecting around £1.9billion of “net additional cost pressures” for Phase One between London and the West Midlands.
In an update to Parliament in November, Trade Secretary Mark Harper said HS2 Ltd is projecting around £1.9billion of “net additional cost pressures” for Phase One between London and the West Midlands.

The documents were acquired by The Telegraph by a Freedom of Information Act request and state: "Given the direct importance of maintaining the benefits that the Golborne Link would have delivered for Scotland it is essential that the Scottish Government has a central role in the consideration of the alternatives.

“[Scottish transport minister Jenny] Gilruth and UKG [Government] Ministers have exchanged letters to seek assurance of her officials’ central role in consideration of the alternatives and requested that at least the original £3bn budget for an alternative will be retained.

“Trudy Harrison, Minister of State for Transport, has confirmed that she has instructed her officials to make direct contact to ensure our input to that work.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government has consistently supported high-speed rail, but not just to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, and we are determined that Scotland benefits from faster high speed rail services.

“Following the removal of the Golborne link from the current Bill and, given the direct importance of maintaining the benefits that the Golborne Link would have delivered for Scotland, the Transport Minister has sought and received confirmation from the UK Minister of State for Transport that Scottish Government Officials will input to the consideration being given to the alternative.”