As reported by The Sunday Telegraph, the report which the DfT paid KPMG a quarter of a million pounds for provided results which were ‘grossly exaggerated’. While the report, which relied on brand new completely untested methodologies had previously been slated by independent economists, such as Professor Henry Overman who told the Treasury Select Committee that benefits were “essential made up”, this time it came from an internal DfT report which they had made sure was published well after the KPMG report itself.
The KPMG report was used by the DfT to prop up the case for HS2, claiming it could be worth up to £15bn per year for the economy, but the report said that these claims were “implausibly high”.
The report, entitled Assessment of Methods for Modelling and Appraisal of the Sub-National, Regional and Local Economy Impacts of Transport, states:
“There is no evidence that the direction of causation claimed in the model —between an increase in rail connectivity and an increase in productivity, employment density and GVA — has been established. There is no explanation provided for the impact of the transport proposal on other geographical areas, i.e. winners and losers … no explanation is given of the original locations of those jobs that shift [as a result of high-speed rail].”
This comes on top of the fact that it took a freedom of information request to show that many areas of the UK would potentially lose out from HS2, a fact not made clear in the published KPMG research.
So not only did the Government deliberately make sure that when they used the KPMG research to bolster the case for HS2, that they left out the bad bits, they already knew what the independent economists would later tell them, that the report did not stand up to any scrutiny whatsoever.
Can anyone say they are surprised?