Stop HS2 call for an independent inquiry into HS2 contracts ahead of today’s scheduled Transport Select Committee inquiry.
Ahead of a scheduled Transport Select committee session looking into the award of contracts to CH2M by HS2 Ltd, Stop HS2 called for a full independent inquiry before more contracts are awarded. In addition, with a general election looming, Stop HS2 also call for the publication of the Cabinet Office report by Sir Jeremy Heywood, which had been commissioned by David Cameron a year ago.
In the oral evidence session, MPs will question Chris Greyling, Secretary of State for Transport, and Sir David Higgins, Chair of HS2 Ltd, about CH2M’s recent decision to withdraw from a major HS2 contract.
New Time: The session will be taking place on Wednesday 19 April 2017, in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House at 2.35pm.
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said
“There are a whole series of questions about the tendering process for the contracts for HS2. The Transport Secretary has already admitted that there was an error in the process, and before HS2 gets too far in appointing other contracts we should know what went wrong and how it will be avoided in future.
“With the prospect of a general election in a few weeks, we urge the government to publish the Jeremy Heywood report into HS2 as soon as possible and ideally before Parliament is dissolved. We also ask all the different parties to commit to an independent review of HS2 in their manifestos. If the next Government wants to continue with HS2, they must be willing to defend it, regardless of how badly the project is doing.”
The Cabinet Office report by Jeremy Heywood had been commissioned by David Cameron a year ago, and it had been expected to have been delivered to ministers in summer of 2016.
Joe Rukin, campaign manager for Stop HS2 said,
“It is clear that there are serious questions are still unanswered about the propriety of HS2 Ltd contract awards. CH2M walked away from one contract due to conflict of interest, hoping no-one would notice they still have the contract that gives them a massive say in where £8.6bn of Phase 1 construction contracts go. There simply must be an inquiry into how that contract was awarded, before CH2M are allowed to divvy up the cake to the rest of construction cartel, who are the ones who lobbied for the ‘need’ to build HS2 in the first place.”
Chair of the Committee, Louise Ellman MP, had previously commented:
“HS2 has the potential to deliver significant benefits. As with any investment of this size, however, it is essential that it is managed effectively. The withdrawal of CH2M from a major HS2 contract raises several questions which must be answered. We will be asking the Secretary of State and Sir David Higgins to explain the circumstances behind CH2M’s withdrawal and what lessons need to be learnt.”
On the subject of the proposed General Election, Penny Gaines added,
“In spite of the long petitioning period which looked at the details of the route, HS2 as a whole has never been properly scrutinised in Parliament.
“We urge all political parties to promise to scrap HS2 after the election. At the very least, we ask that they commit to assess whether HS2 really is the best way to spend £55 billion if they think they want to go ahead with the project. We will be looking carefully at all the manifestoes to see what they have to say about HS2.”