MPs from the Commons public accounts committee have called for the Department of Transport to provide more detailed evidence to support the estimated £50 billion investment. Presenting the committee's findings, chairperson Marget Hodge said:
The pattern so far has been for costs to spiral - from more than £16 billion to £21 billion plus for phase one - and the estimated benefits to dwindle.
In my committee's experience, not allowing enough time for preparation undermines projects from the start.
The Commons public accounts committee has issued a withering assessment of the HS2 high-speed rail project, warning costs were spiralling whilst benefits were dwindling.
The committee said the case for the £50 billion project was based on "fragile numbers, out-of-date data and assumptions which do not reflect real life" with no evidence it would aid regional economies not simply "suck" even more activity into London.
It has demanded an urgent explanation of how quickly the Department of Transport could plug the "significant" gaps in the commercial and major project expertise in its teams.
The HS2 high-speed railway project is needed because without it, the existing rail network will be "full by the mid-2020s", the Department for Transport said today, after the Institute of Directors slammed the initiative.
A spokeswoman said: "The scheme is forecast to generate over £50 billion of benefits for the UK economy but we know we must maximise every economic benefit HS2 has to offer.
"That is why the HS2 Growth Taskforce was created, headed up by Lord Deighton, to work with city and business leaders to ensure we are capitalising on every opportunity to help regeneration, job creation, investment opportunities and in building a skilled UK economy."
There is "no other alternative" that delivers the "benefits" of HS2 said chief executive of the project today, after the Institute of Directors slammed the initiative.
While we respect the right of the IOD to state its case, we believe that HS2 will provide value for money and will bring about a transformational change to the economic geography of our country...
The IoD have not yet released their polling data but it is clear that their members are strongly in favour of increasing capacity with 80% supporting investment in long-distance trains and 41% supporting HS2.
The Prime Minister says the money to pay for HS2 will need to come from 'a balance' between the Government and 'the train user' - but expensive tickets are necessary for 'Britain to be a success'. See the full interview above.