What is the cost of HS2?
FoI request submitted
ANTI-HS2 campaigners have reacted with anger about a Freedom of Information request over the cost of the project.
Chiltern District Councillor Seb Berry, pictured, submitted a Freedom of Information request explaining that the £50billion estimate was based on 2011 figures and asked for an updated amount.
The reply from HS2 Ltd simply said: “We do not hold this information.”
The Department for Transport issued a fuller response saying: “I am writing to advise you that following a thorough search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is not held by this department because we have no business need to estimate the cost of HS2 in 2015 prices.”
Councillor Berry responded: “It beggars belief that ministers don’t know what the current price tag of HS2 is. Surely the DfT must know the answer to this most basic of questions?
“In their own PR terms it’s obviously better for Government and HS2 Ltd to keep using the lower 2011 prices figure.”
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin added: “The arrogance from the Department for Transport, not just that they don’t know the current price of HS2, but that they don’t see any need to know what it is, is both astounding and completely irresponsible. You would have thought that the Government might think that the effect of inflation, especially when construction wage inflation was four times that of average wages and three times general inflation last year is important when they started with a cost of £32bn in 2010 and are already up to £50bn.
“The Government’s own figures for public sector construction show that the cost of contracts went up by 13% between 2011 and 2014, but they are choosing not to apply this fact to the cost of HS2, because it will damage the case for their vanity project.”
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said: “With spending on HS2 expected to be several billion a year in the next few years, it is inconceivable that they do not keep track of the expected costs to the British taxpayer.
“If they don’t know what things should cost in current terms at a time when they are negotiating contracts with suppliers, they will never be able to keep control of the budget in the future.
“There is just too great a potential for errors and massive overspends.”