Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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Gove hints that government is having to make ‘painful decisions’ – is HS2 one of them?

The country is waiting with bated breath for the much-anticipated economic statement, however Michael Gove has hinted that when it lands in a couple of weeks it may have implications for HS2.

He has suggested that capital investment for HS2 could be reviewed and warned that the government is having to make ‘painful’ decisions.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor are said to be considering up to £50 billion worth of spending cuts and tax hikes in order to fill the black hole in the country’s finances.

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Speaking to Kate McCann and Adam Boulton on Times Radio’s Sunday Morning, the Levelling Up secretary was asked why the top team were not considering making cuts to the major infrastructure project, to which Gove said: “I am sure everything will be reviewed”, adding: “I do think HS2 is a significant investment…”

The interviewers pressed Gove on whether he believed the project was still worth the investment, even without the eastern leg, to which he responded: “In a way your question is the answer, which is that we’ve already had to make economies.

“But I think long term capital investment in making sure this country is better connected is a good thing.

“And ideally, you don’t want to cut that long term capital investment because it helps contribute to economic growth and greater opportunity.

“But when we face the particularly economic problems that we have at the moment, I’m sure that some capital spending will be cut.”

He maintained that due to “mistakes that were made at the mini-budget, we have got to make some decisions, which will be painful”.

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