HS2 update

Earlier today, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee released its latest report on the early programme preparation of High Speed Rail 2.

The report draws into sharp focus the spiraling costs of the programme and the weak case for it:

The Department for Transport has not yet presented a convincing case for the now £42.6 billion investment it is proposing to invest in High Speed 2. The estimates of costs and benefits are still far from finalised and the pattern so far has been for costs to increase and benefits to decrease.

And on costs:

When the public was consulted in 2011 on the strategic case for High Speed 2, the estimated cost of phase one in the consultation documents was £16.8 billion. The phase one cost estimates increased by £2.1 billion between February 2011 and August 2012. On 26 June 2013 the Department announced an indicative budget for phase one of £21.4 billion.


The Department’s indicative budget for the full Y-network, including phases one and two, is now £42.6 billion compared to £32.7 billion in January 2012. Neither of these figures includes the cost of rolling stock, which the Department estimates will be £7.5 billion. The £42.6 billion includes £14.4 billion contingency, a third of the overall budget

And on the Government’s confidence in current estimates:

The Department is 95% confident that it can deliver within the indicative budgets for both phases given the levels of contingency it has included. It had lower levels of confidence in its previous estimates. Despite the huge contingency provision, the indicative budget does not, however, allow for any major changes in scope, for example, those that may be required by Parliament such as route changes or additional stations.

It’s good work for rail consultants:

HS2 Limited has spent about £185 million on consultants to date, mostly on the development of phase one, including the route design and the environmental statement. It expects to have spent just over £500 million on consultants by the end of March 2016.

I was the first MP to call a debate to oppose HS2 in this Parliament and I have repeatedly raised my objections to HS2 in the House, in print  and in other speeches. I will continue to oppose this programme, which is not in the public interest despite the claims made for it.

For the avoidance of doubt, HS2 is not planned to run through the constituency I represent.

See also these debates on HS2:

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