“North must not pay for HS2 rail project” Daithí McKay
Sinn Féin economy Spokesperson, Daithí McKay has called on Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton to take steps to ensure that the North does not lose out financially in the event that the massive HS2 super rail project linking London and Birmingham receives parliamentary approval in Westminster.
Daithí McKay said:
“This project is estimated to cost in the region of £43 - £50billion and has the potential to negatively impact on our future budgets with no return for local people here in the north.
"While we will reap no benefits from the provision of high speed rail across England the financial implications for the north, because of the structure of the Barnett Formula, mean that we could lose out financially due to the high costs of this project. There are also potential losses through direct expenditure procedures calculated by Whitehall Civil Servants.
“He needs to initiate steps immediately to ensure that we are not left with a bill for something from which we will derive no benefit.
“The Minister responded to me in a recent written question by saying that ‘if this project is to be funded from additional Capital DEL allocations to the Department for Transport in England, then there should be Barnett consequentials’ for the North. This is clearly not good enough.
“Immediate steps must be taken to engage directly with the British Treasury to ascertain how it intends to finance this project and what consequences it will have on the Executive budget. The Minister must not wait until decisions are made before he takes action to protect our budget.”