The Department for Transport has yet to present a convincing strategic case for High Speed 2. It has not yet demonstrated that this is the best way to spend Ap50 billion on rail investment in these constrained times, and that the improved connectivity will promote growth in the regions rather than sucking even more activity into London. The pattern so far has been for costs to spiral - from more than Ap16 billion to Ap21 billion plus for phase one - and the estimated benefits to dwindle. The Department has been making huge spending decisions on the basis of fragile numbers, out-of-date data and assumptions which do not reflect real life, such as assuming business travellers do not work on trains using modern technology. The Department has ambitious and unrealistic, plans for passing the Bill for High Speed 2. The timetable is much tighter than for either High Speed 1 or Crossrail, despite the fact High Speed 2 is a much larger programme. Not allowing enough time for preparation undermines projects from the start. A rushed approach contributed to the failure of the InterCity West Coast franchise award. The Department has increased its High Speed rail team, but getting the right mix of skills is challenging and the Department lacks the commercial skills necessary to protect taxpayers' interest on a programme of this sizeI will just, if I may, for one second longer, say something about the assumptions we made. ... Q28 Chair: Between February 2011 and January 2012, your costs increased by Ap1.8 billion, because you revisited forecasts on both revenues and operating costs. ... Q30 Chair: So in three not-quite-annual assessments before there has been a spade in the ground, all the costs are moving in the wrong direction.
|Title||:||House of Commons - Committee of Public Accounts: High Speed 2: A Review of Early Programme Preparation - HC 478|
|Author||:||Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Committee of Public Accounts|
|Publisher||:||The Stationery Office - 2013-09-09|