Would our Labour Party man up to wasteful rail spending

Politicians love to spend other peoples money, especially on things like “public transport”. So it is a pleasant surprise to see a Labour politician manning up and admitting these things are dogs…pity it wasn’t in NZ.

A high speed rail line between London and the North could be scrapped by a Labour government because costs have “spiralled up and up”, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said.

Mr Balls said that supporting the project without reservation would be “irresponsible” and that there would be “no blank cheque” from Labour.

In his strongest intervention yet on High Speed 2, Mr Balls said that spending £50bn on the project may not be a “good idea”. 

He suggested that the money may be better spent elsewhere.

His comments are likely to lead to a Labour split. Andrew Adonis, the former Labour transport minister, is an outspoken supporter of high speed rail.

“We continue to back the idea of a new North-South rail link. But under this government the High Speed 2 project has been totally mismanaged and the costs have shot up to £50bn,” said Mr Balls.

“David Cameron and George Osborne have made clear that they will go full steam ahead with this project – no matter how much the costs spiral up and up. They seem willing to put their own pride and vanity above best value for the taxpayer.

“Labour will not take this irresponsible approach. So let me be clear, in tough times – when there is less money and a big deficit to get down – there will be no blank cheque from me as a Labour Chancellor for this project or for any project.

“Because the question is not just whether a new High Speed line is a good idea or a bad idea, but whether it is the best way to spend £50bn for the future of our country.”

Would our Labour party man up like Ed Balls has done?

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