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High-speed rail link between London and Manchester to be subsidised

The UK government has finally come clean with regards to the cost of a proposed high-speed rail link between London and Manchester. The rail service is expected to offer speeds in excess of 200 mph, significantly reducing the current journey time between the two cities. However, for the first time the UK government has now admitted that UK taxpayers will be expected to subsidise the line to the tune of £8 billion.

Further details of the high-speed rail link will be released towards the end of 2009 but the overall cost is expected to be in the region of £16 billion, of which the taxpayer is expected to fund 50%. If the line is extended beyond Manchester and on to Glasgow the total figure could rise to around £30 billion which would leave UK taxpayers with a £15 billion hit.

While there is no doubt there are significant economic benefits to a high-speed rail link between London and Manchester and possibly Glasgow, there are concerns about the level of subsidies set aside for the rail network. When you consider that the rail network was sold off to the commercial market some time ago, UK taxpayers are still paying a significant price.

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