The Major Projects Authority have published their annual report, which claims that MPs voting for HS2 without being in possession of facts such as their full reports on HS2 represents “significant progress”. One HS2 director said that significant financial savings have been made, despite the fact it was revealed last week that contractors employed by HS2 Ltd are already 86% over-budget.
Earlier this year, the Government used a veto to block a ruling from the Information Commissioner that the actual reports on HS2 from the MPA which rated iit ‘amber-red’ should be published. The Information Commissioner has since decided to take the unprecedented step of taking the Government to Judicial Review over this decision.
The report states:
“High Speed Rail (HS2) is a high-profile example of a project that displays many of these challenges. It is not unusual for projects of this scale to have a lower delivery confidence assessment early in their project life, highlighting the substantial issues that inevitably remain to be resolved. Significant progress has been made in the last year on HS2, for example in depositing the High Speed Rail Bill in Parliament and securing successful second reading in the Commons. The amber/red delivery confidence assessment on HS2, like other projects with a similar assessment, indicates that the focused attention that is being applied to addressing the remaining issues must continue.”
With Michael Hurn, HS2 Director for Project Sponsorship claiming:
“Over the last six months I have become more forensic in my approach to planning projects and have challenged others more on the quality of information they give me. This has already yielded significant financial savings on my project.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:
“In saying that ‘significant progress’ has been made, the Government seems to be confusing getting MPs to vote for HS2 without having all the facts, confused with actually getting the project right. If the actual details of the reports on HS2 had been published, I am certain that MPs wouldn’t have been so gung-ho in voting for this white elephant.”
“For a Director to be talking about ‘yielding significant financial savings’, a week after it was revealed that £101m worth of contracts are running at £188m is disgraceful spin of the first order. The undeniable reality is that out of 16 contracts signed last year, all 16 are over-budget, and the costs will continue to spiral. It is absolutely clear that HS2 is out of control, no matter how much the Government want to spin the facts. The costs are going to keep going up, and when HS2 Ltd start appearing in front of the Hybrid Bill Select Committee, it will become patently obvious to everyone that they haven’t got the first clue what they are doing.”
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said
“The MPA have kept giving HS2 amber/red ratings. The Department for Transport may claim that it is a project in excellent shape, but the evidence says otherwise. Councils and other statutory bodies working with HS2 complain of missing and ‘slow information’ from HS2 Ltd, if they get it at all. And this is further emphasised by the petitions which have been deposited for the next stage of the Hybrid Bill. “
Penny Gaines added
“The David Higgins report published earlier this year was supposed to find savings in the budget for HS2, which was increased by £10 billion last year. Instead of finding savings, Higgins dropped the link to HS1 and kept the £50 billion budget the same. With all the contracts going over budget, it seems incredulous to suggest that this is anything other than a project in deep trouble. Rather than waste any more Parliamentary time, or taxpayers money, on HS2, it should be cancelled immediately.”