The Department for Transport has failed to prove that HS2 is the best way to spend £50 billion of rail investment, according to an influential group of MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee, led by Margaret Hodge, says costs are spiralling, estimated benefits are dwindling, and the whole project has been rushed.

A report out today says the Department has failed to present "a convincing strategic case" for the rail project, which would link the Midlands with London.

The project is said to rely on out-of-date figures and research, ignoring, for example, the way in which people continue to work on-board trains using modern technology. The report also claims there is no evidence that the line would help regional economies.

The findings follow recent criticism of HS2 by the Institute of Directors which dismissed it as "a grand folly" and the Institute for Economic Affairs think-tank put estimated costs as high as £80 billion.

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has responded saying it was "absolutely clear" that without HS2 key rail routes would be "overwhelmed" by rising passenger numbers.

The Transport Secretary defends the project Credit: PA/PA Wire

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

Joe Rukin Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager, Joe Rukin says,

There have been so many independent organisations, who have criticised HS2 for no other reason than to try and stop Government wasting billions of pounds on a project the country doesn't need in the last month, that it is becoming very difficult to find a new way of saying: 'That's another body agreeing with what we've been saying all along'. The problem is that the Government just do not want to listen.