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Campaigners insist Chancellor can’t justify HS2 costs in the shadow of public service cuts

Campaigners claim the Chancellor cannot justify further cuts to public services while the cost of HS2 continues to soar.

George Osborne will make his Autumn statement today (November 25), with a number of areas bracing themselves for further reductions in funding.

Stop HS2 campaigners say the current budget for the high-speed rail project – which will cut through parts of Lichfield – stands at around £50billion when the cost of the trains to operate are also added.

Stop HS2 protesters in Lichfield

Stop HS2 protesters in Lichfield

But they also warn that Government insiders say the eventual figure could climb as high as £80billion.

Joe Rukin, campaign manager for Stop HS2, said the Government needs to look at what its priorities are.

“With trains not due to run for over another decade, who knows where the cost of this vanity project will end up and what else will have to be cut to pay for it?” he said.

“A responsible Chancellor would be asking serious questions about whether HS2 is really worth it, not chucking more money at a project which would only benefit the richest in society.

“Against a backdrop of further cuts to public services, the increasingly dogmatic support for this white elephant and its’ spiralling costs is completely unfathomable.

“There are very many people who rely on things which Mr Osborne is willing to cut who will find a ballooning HS2 budget very hard to stomach.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.