HS2 threatened due to 'out of control' costs, report warns
Sections of the £56 billion HS2 project could be scrapped due to out-of-control costs, a report has today warned.
The influential House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has called for a “major rethink” on the rail line, concluding that the Government has yet to “satisfactorily” explain how it can justify the huge costs of the controversial project.
The report also raises concerns that HS2 could bust its budget, with peers criticising ministers for failing to properly assess proposals to reduce costs.
It says the second phase – which is due to carve through 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside on its way to the north west – may have to be shelved if the cash runs out.
Phase One is due to run from London to Birmingham.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, said: “The costs of HS2 do not appear to be under control.
"It is surprising therefore that the Government has not carried out a proper assessment of proposals to reduce the cost of HS2 – such as lowering the speed of the railway or terminating in west London rather than Euston – which the Committee recommended in 2015. A new appraisal of the project is required.
“If costs overrun on the first phase of the project, there could be insufficient funding for the rest of the new railway.
“The northern sections of High Speed 2 must not be sacrificed to make up for overspending on the railway’s southern sections.” The ‘Rethinking HS2’ report comes as opposition grows, with a number of potential Conservative leadership candidates saying they would ditch it.
HS2 has been dogged by controversy since its onset, with former chairman Sir Terry Morgan admitting last year that “nobody knows” what the final costs of it will be.
Joe Rukin of Stop HS2, said: “HS2 being cancelled in its entirety has never been more likely than it is now.
But HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani insists it will be completed.