The project to bring high speed rail services to Yorkshire has around a £3 billion funding gap according to the National Audit Office.
The controversial new HS2 link will cut the journey time from Leeds to London to just an hour and 20 minutes and is due to be completed by 2033. The government spending watchdog says Ministers have yet to decide where three-point-three billion pounds worth of funding for the project is coming from.
Geraldine Barker from the National Audit Office and Rail Minister Simon Burns say the project is still in the early stages.
It's too early in the High Speed 2 programme to conclude on the likelihood of its achieving value for money. Our concern at this point is the lack of clarity around the Department's objectives. **The strategic case for the network should be better developed at this stage of the programme. It is intended to demonstrate the need for the line but so far presents limited evidence on forecast passenger demand and expected capacity shortages on existing lines.
It is also unclear how High Speed 2 will transform regional economies by delivering jobs and growth. The Department is trying against a challenging timetable to strengthen its evidence and analysis, which at present provide a weak foundation for securing and demonstrating success in the programme in future.
The National Audit Office has expressed "reservations" about the Department of Transport's business case in planning for the High Speed 2 rail network.
In a report out today, it says the Department has "poorly articulated" the strategic need for a transformation in rail capacity and how High Speed 2 would help generate regional economic growth.
According to the report, the Department's method for appraising the project put a high emphasis on journey-time savings, from faster and more reliable journeys.
However, the relationship between these savings and the strategic reasons for doing the project, such as rebalancing regional economies, was "unclear" .
The NAO says it is also unclear whether the business case covers just the route between London and the West Midlands (phase one, due to open in 2026) or the full Y-shaped network with lines from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds respectively (phase two, due to open in 2032).
The Y-network had a stronger economic case but this was much less certain as route designs were less well-developed. And the NAO estimates that there is a £3.3 billion funding gap over four years (2017-18 to 2020-21) which the government has yet to decide how to fill.
An MP is holding two meetings today over plans for the high speed rail project which some residents fear may blight their village. Phase two of the HS2 rail link to London from the north is expected to travel through Killamarsh ending at Sheffield Meadowhall.
This could mean some houses may have to be demolished and plans to restore the village's railway station may not go ahead.
Natascha Engel who is the MP for North East Derbyshire, wants to give residents in Killamarsh a chance to have say over the project. The consultation meetings are taking place at 1.30pm at Renishaw Community Centre and 4pm at Killamarsh Church Hall.
Homeowner Tony Heald fears the value of his house has been slashed because of the new high speed rail link. The route was announced two weeks ago and for Tony it means a huge tunnel will pass 35 metres under the front door of his family home.
Only those homes which need to be knocked down to make way for the rail link are entitled to compulsory purchase payments, but for Tony it means up to 75 thousand pounds could be wiped off the value of his property. Matt Price reports.
Ian Jordan, HS2 Ltd Director for Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow, defended the scheme after a village in North Yorkshire said it would blight their community in a meeting tonight.
He said: "HS2 will generate jobs and rebalance the country's economy, delivering a return on investment that will benefit regions like Yorkshire.
"Wherever practical, the route has been designed to minimise potential impacts on people and properties as well as important environmental features.
"The Government and HS2 Ltd will continue to work closely with communities and interested parties to refine plans to find the right balance between delivering essential infrastructure and respecting the rights and concerns of those most affected.
HS2 protestors say it is "worst thing since medieval battle"
Nearly 200 people packed out a public meeting to protest against a high speed rail link this evening.
Residents of Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, and surrounding villages turned out, with some saying the £33 billion scheme is a waste of money and a "white elephant".
Four properties will be knocked down to make way for the new line and campaigners say many more would be blighted by the noise of the 200 mph trains passing over the village on two 60ft tall viaducts.
Jo Mason, who set up an action group, said: "Since the Battle of Towton 552 years ago this is the worst thing that's happened to the village. It's playing politics with people's lives. It's about house prices. It's about protecting the environment. We have to do it together."
A protest meeting organised by opponents of the Government' s controversial high speed rail link between London and Yorkshire takes place tonight. Residents in Church Fenton say a viaduct planned for the edge of the village will "decimate" it.
The meeting will be held in the Village Hall from 7pm