Campaigners slam Osborne over China's bidding for rail line contract

24 Sep 2015


Chancellor George Osborne has come under attack from protesters  campaigners over his decision to start the bidding process to build the high speed HS2 rail line.

According to the campaigners, it was too early,  with the Bill is still going through parliament, and he should not initially encourage China to bid for the £11.8 billion contracts.

According to the HS2 Action Alliance, the move confirmed that it was a "political project rather than a transport project".

The group's spokesman, Richard Houghton, said, "George Osborne has been very astute at using it to support his political ambitions.

"It was going to be part of creating the northern powerhouse ahead of the general election. Now he's trying to build his position as a statesman on the international stage in the hope he will be prime minister when David Cameron steps down.

"You shouldn't be issuing contracts when you don't have the money.

This was meant to be a project that was going to not only build northern economies but also create jobs for British people. If the contracts are going to the Chinese it makes a nonsense

of that claim."

Osborne has invited China to build the high speed rail line between London and Birmingham as he opened a £11.8-billion bidding process.

Chinese firms would work with UK businesses to build the line, along with the surface route and tunnels. Further, Chinese businesses had also been invited to be part of the HS2 skills college, opening in Birmingham in 2017.

Osborne would announce that at least seven new contracts with a total combined value of nearly £12 billion would be opened up to companies, at an event in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China.

He would also announce an ''HS2 partnering day'' for UK and Chinese firms to explore joining up on bids for contracts.

Construction of phase one of HS2 was set to start in 2017, and when opened would cut the travel time between London and Birmingham from 1hr 21 minutes to 49 minutes.

However Critics of a UK government scheme that aims to compensate residents along the planned route of a London-Birmingham high-speed rail line have warned that the government could end up with spiraling bills under the proposed scheme. (See: UK government compensation scheme for rail-blighted houses draws flak).

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