The price of the HS2 high-speed railway line has risen by one other £1.7 billion over the previous yr because the pandemic and social distancing measures pressured delays and diminished productiveness on Britain’s greatest infrastructure undertaking.
The prices related to the primary section of the high-speed hyperlink between London and Birmingham have elevated by as a lot as £800 million.
That’s on high of an £800 million enhance in prices beforehand introduced by HS2 in October.
The price of the Birmingham Interchange has additionally been hit by an additional £100 million enhance to £370 million, earlier than contractors have been appointed.
The £1.7 billion enhance marks an additional important uplift on the undertaking’s £106 billion price range.
One contractor linked to the undertaking mentioned that HS2 Ltd, the state-funded physique liable for delivering the railway line, “nonetheless doesn’t actually understand how a lot Covid has added”.
The rise comes throughout a rising backlash to HS2, which was seen as one of many causes behind the Conservatives’ crushing loss to the Liberal Democrats within the Chesham & Amersham by-election.
The brand new line is because of run via the Buckinghamshire constituency.
The spending remains to be inside the £40.3 billion scope set for section 1 however the undertaking is already drawing on its contingency price range of £4.3 billion solely a yr after constructing on the road was given the go-ahead by Boris Johnson.
The associated fee is predicted to extend additional as budgets for key components of the undertaking haven’t but been agreed.
A Nationwide Audit Workplace report final yr warned that planning on the railway is at such early levels that it’s nearly unattainable to foretell the ultimate prices.
Authorities officers conceded there had been “unavoidable prices” arising from the pandemic.
The Division for Transport added: “Our focus stays on controlling prices, to make sure this bold new railway delivers its wealth of advantages at worth for cash for the taxpayer. The response to Covid-19 stays ongoing and remaining assessments of its impact haven’t been made.”