Proposed budget for HS2 railway rises

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The transport minister has said the proposed budget for the HS2 railway has risen by nearly £10bn.

Patrick McLoughlin told the Commons the new projected cost of £42.6bn, up from £33bn, included “contingency” money.

He said the final cost could be lower than the new estimate, but said revising the figure was “right”.

The new high-speed railway line is intended to link London to Birmingham by 2026, with branches to Manchester and Leeds, via Sheffield, planned by 2032.

Several MPs criticised the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill in a debate, but a bid to quash it was defeated by 325 to 37 votes.

The first phase budget is now £21.4bn, with £21.2bn for phase two. These figures include a contingency fund of £14.4bn across the scheme.