Is Higgins off, or is it another HS2 cock-up?

On Wednesday a comment from John on the Stop HS2 website, pointed out that what has been rumoured for a while, that Sir David Higgins has had enough of HS2 and is most likely off back to Australia, is now happening.

As much use as a bag full of farts

As much use as a bag full of farts

There have been lots of rumours circulating recently that he is following in the footsteps of his predecessor Douglas Overtree in not exactly doing a lot, just being wheeled out to make the odd speech, and generally speaking is in the parlance of his homeland, “As much use as a bag full of farts”.

As John spotted, the Public Appointments Bulletin produced by the Cabinet Office states in the ‘Forthcoming Appointments’ section, that the post of HS2 Ltd Chair will soon become a vacancy, indeed it will be advertised in the next few months.

David Higgins: Not part of HS2 senior management?

David Higgins: Not part of HS2 senior management?

Given the speculation, this was not too much of a shock. It is true that Higgins contract was extended in January, that was because the original one had expired, and no-one knows (or at least will say) how long it’s been extended for.

It is also the case that on the front page of the HS2 Ltd website, Higgins is not listed as part of the management of the company, which given that he is the Chair of the organisation does seem odd.

However, when the fact that his job is being pre-advertised was put to HS2 Ltd by the Sunday Telegraph, they simply said this was an ‘error’ and that Sir David still is the chair of HS2 Ltd. However, HS2 Ltd wouldn’t say how long he was staying for, which given the fact he has apparently just signed a contract extension also seems rather odd.

It’s a bit like last week, when HS2 Ltd admitted stations on Phase 1 will be two years late, but insisted this doesn’t mean HS2 will be late.

It seems like there are two possibilities. The first option is that whoever was in the HS2 Ltd press office remembered the Parliamentary report that said HS2 Ltd has a ‘culture of misinformation’, and gave the usual sort of half-truth in that as Higgins hasn’t left yet, how long exactly it is before he does or doesn’t leave isn’t something they don’t know. Don’t worry if you didn’t follow that, you weren’t meant to. That’s the point!

On the day he was appointed, Higgins said both that he would cut costs of HS2, and that he wouldn't.

On the day he was appointed, Higgins said both that he would cut costs of HS2, and that he wouldn’t.

The second option is that someone in the Cabinet Office decided to send out their appointments newsletter, and thought it’d be a laugh to add in the fact that the Chair of the company building the biggest single infrastructure project in UK history is leaving, for no reason whatsoever.

Whilst those watching HS2 over the years have been used to cock-ups, the second option seems a bit too much of a stretch, and far more likely is that the man who was brought in to cut costs of the project but has spectacularly failed, is on the way out before anyone notices the mess he’s made, just like he did at Network Rail.

No related content found.

Share Button
3 comments on “Is Higgins off, or is it another HS2 cock-up?
  1. Pingback: Vacancy Ahead? – Chair of the Board | Penspot

  2. Pingback: STOP HS2 | Government mount desperate bid to cut HS2 costs.

  3. Wonder what Sir David thinks of Sir Jeremy doing what he was supposed to do i.e. CUT COST
    I presume the contingency has gone and Sir Jeremy is aware of the real cost!

Comments are closed.

2010-2017 © STOP HS2 – The national campaign against High Speed Rail 2