@DanielHewittITV: MCR City Council Leader @SirRichardLeese tells me#HS2 must go ahead. Without it Manchester will be cut off from London & the rest of Europe
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has criticised the spiralling costs of the proposed HS2 rail link to the North West. The high speed line is due to connect Manchester with London by 2033. It is being predicted that the cost of the project will exceed the £42 billion budget.
The former Labour Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has hit back at the criticism of the Government's HS2 rail plans by MPs on the public accounts committee:
It would be an act of national self-mutilation to cancel HS2: http://t.co/BGz3wfNVt9
To get just 2/3 of the rail capacity increase of HS2 by upgrading existing lines costs more in cash terms than HS2 - it is best value option
HS2 also frees up capacity on existing lines for new freight, local and regional services - not just inter-city passengers who benefit
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.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has rejected the findings of the Commons public accounts committee, which criticised the costs and benefits of the HS2 high-speed rail network.
Mr McLoughlin said the case for the £50 billion project was "absolutely clear," as rail routes would be "overwhelmed" by rising passenger numbers. He said:
"The project will free up vital space on our railways for passengers and freight, generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and deliver better connections between our towns and cities.
"HS2 is a vital part of our plan to give Britain the transport infrastructure it needs to compete.
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The committee said the case for the £50 billion project was based on "fragile numbers, out-of-date data and assumptions which do not reflect real life" with no evidence it would aid regional economies not simply "suck" even more activity into London.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 Institute of Directors (IoD) has joined those calling for HS2 to be scrapped, branding the £50 billion high-speed rail project "a grand folly".
A survey of IoD members found that just 27% feel HS2 represents good value for money, and 70% say the scheme will have no impact on the productivity of their business.
The survey also showed that there was little enthusiasm for the project even in the regions where the benefits are supposed to be strongest.
Protesters against a proposed high speed rail link between London and Manchester will take their fight to the Court of Appeal today.
HS2 Action Alliance argue the government's plans do not consider the environmental impact of the new line.