HS2 under attack in new report
Project cost in spotlight
A REPORT has been published by the House of Commons public accounts committee that criticises HS2.
The report, entitled Lessons Learned from Major Rail Infrastructure Programmes, looks at a number of rail projects, including HS2.
It is critical of the government for making decisions on transport without a long-term strategy in place and of the large contingency for HS2 which could hide mounting costs.
The report says: “This funding includes a generous contingency and we are concerned that, without appropriate controls, it could be used to mask cost increases.”
Penny Gaines, chairman of Stop HS2, said: “As the report points out, there is already a lot of spending on HS2 for a project that is a long way off Royal Assent.
“The current spending on HS2 won’t be made public until after the general election, and even the most optimistic Department for Transport estimate says Royal Assent won’t happen until at least December 2016.
“With numerous northern councils saying better east-west links in the north, such as the proposed HS3, are a high priority, one thing is clear. HS2 should be cancelled immediately, at a saving to the taxpayer of £50bn, and the real transport priorities for the country looked at.”
MP Margaret Hodge, chairman of the committee of public accounts, said: “We are sceptical about whether the government can deliver value for money for the taxpayer on HS2.
“The overall funding envelope of £50bn includes a generous contingency, and we are concerned that this will simply be used to mask cost overspends, rather than valid calls on contingency funds.
“The contingency includes provision for likely inflation based on the Treasury’s guidance on the rates to apply, but construction costs can increase more quickly than general inflation.”
Turn to pages 22 and 23 for our report on MPs visiting Bucks last week to see how HS2 will impact on the Chilterns.
Rap star Mikar-the-Vipar, aka Michael Kamara