Paying off contracts previously awarded for cancelled HS2 sections will cost hundreds of millions of pounds, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has indicated.
He told BBC Breakfast that the cost of pulling out of the agreements will “broadly balance out” with money recovered from selling land and property acquired for the high-speed railway.
HS2 Ltd figures show £562 million was spent on land and property for HS2 north of Birmingham.
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That includes £205 million for Phase 2a between the West Midlands and Crewe, £196 million for Phase 2b between Crewe and Manchester, and £161 million for HS2’s eastern leg between the West Midlands and the East Midlands.
Government figures show a total of £2.3 billion had been spent on those phases as of June.
A £300 million contract for ground works north of Birmingham was awarded last week, but it is likely that most if not all of this spending can be withdrawn.
Mr Harper was repeatedly pressed about how much would be spent paying off contracts.
He told BBC Breakfast he could not say “in detail”.
He added: “We’ve made some assumptions.
“But we’ve also made some assumptions about the money we’ll recover from land sales, we think they will broadly balance out. “They may not exactly.”