HS2 – just when is the right time for the No Blank Cheque test to start?

From 51M

The news that HS2 Ltd has overshot its allocated budget of £101 million by £87 million suggests that maybe now would be a good time to apply the ‘no blank cheque’ test to the project. It is, of course, the taxpayer who is funding this significant overspending arising from consultants’ contracts for the first phase of the high-speed line.

The lack of concern on the part of HS2 Ltd is remarkable. Claiming that the scheme is remaining within budget only has meaning if set against what you are getting for the money. Over-shooting so comprehensively on consultants’ fees does not indicate the company is running a tight ship, or train, to be more accurate.

The claim that that HS2 Ltd has procured professional contractors’ services to produce a scheme that has an exemplary approach to environmental mitigation will surprise many, not least the Environmental Audit Select Committee. A more recognisable assessment would be to point to an abject failure so far to engage effectively with those communities that will be devastated by HS2.

If, three years away from the first shovel being turned with purpose there is little evidence that a grip is being kept on finances, what hope for the future? With one of the parties backing HS2 on the basis of there being ‘no blank cheque’, the obvious question is to ask exactly what does it take to trigger such a review? Given HS2′s voracious appetite for taxpayers’ money, getting an answer can’t come soon enough.

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2 comments to “HS2 – just when is the right time for the No Blank Cheque test to start?”
  1. HS2 Phases may only change if Labour MPS and Labour voters persuade the Labour Party to change priorities to meet needs of the poor better

    Labour MPs and labour voters may hold the future of the spending prioirities selected in the manifesto and in the next Parliament and the outcome of HS2 Phase 1,

    Without the Labour voters persuading the Labour Party policies and the key labour group of politicians and their strategists the next Government is unlikely to change its approach to HS2.

    Liberals, SDP, UKIP and Greens will have little role in the formation of the next Government and their prioirities for their specific plans and policies can reduce the support for HS2 too little for compared with the two large UK parties.

    Osborne and Cameron are locked into their imposition to dictate HS2 in the UK with its weaknesses.

    The Labour Party is likely to increase its number of seats with plans and policies directed at the millions of poor and the many low paid workers for whom HS2 has little benefit.

    With only 3 months to the drafting of manifestos ahead of party conferences people will have to approach the Labour MPs and local party offices to persuade the people to request more emphasis on expenditure and investment for daily requirements. You may be able to persuade Labour that there is more to gain from switching policies to more socially attractive and family requirements.

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