Campaigners say report suggests ‘case for HS2 has been made up’
THE government is facing criticism for overstating the benefits of HS2 in its business case for the controversial rail line.
A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the plus points were overstated by 86 per cent.
This has come about because the government’s case has been based on a benefit to cost ratio of £2.60 for every £1 spent.
The Department for Transport has now admitted that this was wrong.
In its report, the NAO states that the Department for Transport ‘does not always recognise the limitations of its analysis nor scrutinise outputs to make sure they make sense.
‘This means that its analysis has been open to challenge and, in some cases, decisions have been made using unrealistic analysis.
‘Economic analysis must be checked to ensure it is realistic’.
The report adds that the Department for Transport needs to do more work on developing its businesses cases and scrutinising the economic analysis of the estimated benefits of the line.
Campaigners against HS2 have criticised the government department following publication of the report.
Joe Rukin, campaign manager for Stop HS2, said: “When the national auditors are saying the business case for HS2 was overstated by 86 per cent because there was a lack of common sense, unrealistic analysis and double counting, you have to wonder how many other things have been got fundamentally wrong concerning HS2.
“The whole case for HS2 has been made up and the project should be cancelled before more money is wasted because of politicians’ vanity.”