The UK Department for Transportation has decided to defer the Birmingham to Crewe section of the High Speed Two (HS2) rail line by two years to save costs.

Along with soaring project costs, the decision to rephase construction by two years was also triggered by significant inflationary pressure.

The HS2 project has been facing cost overruns and delays for a long time. In 2010, the project was estimated to entail an investment of £33bn, which climbed to £71bn by 2019.

In a written statement to the Parliament, UK transport secretary Mark Harper stated that the government “aims to deliver high-speed services to Crewe and the North West as soon as possible after accounting for the delay in construction.”

It is also focusing on advancing commitments made in the Integrated Rail Plan for the development of the HS2 East route that covers services between the West and East Midlands besides considering the better way to take HS2 trains to Leeds.

Harper further noted: “HS2 continues to represent a very significant investment into our national infrastructure, levelling up communities right across our country, providing a net-zero alternative to car travel and domestic flights, and training a skilled workforce for the UK’s future construction industry.”

The government already invested more than £20bn for the delivery of Phase One between London and the West Midlands, as part of the project.

Harper stated: “We remain committed to delivering HS2 services to Euston, and will address affordability pressures to ensure the overall spending profile is manageable.

“We will therefore take the time to ensure we have an affordable and deliverable station design, delivering Euston alongside high-speed infrastructure to Manchester.”