In another setback for the troubled HS2 rail project, the Financial Times has reported that the Government is preparing to sack Sir Terry Morgan, the chair of HS2 Ltd. Morgan, who will reportedly will also be sacked as chair of Crossrail, will leave “within weeks”, after just four months in the job.
Morgan, whose appointment was announced in July, started work at HS2 Ltd in August whilst also remaining chair of Crossrail. Just days after Morgan joined HS2, it was revealed that Crossrail was both late and over-budget.
The FT claims the move is a sign ministers fear there is worse news is to come, with both HS2 and Crossrail running over budget, there are fears that HS2 will overshoot its £56bn budget by a large margin
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin responded:
“It seems bizarre to sack Terry Morgan just because HS2 is going to be late and over-budget, because it was years late and billions over-budget well before he arrived in July. Morgan might be responsible for Crossrail being late and over-budget, but if that is a problem why did no one notice that his predecessor David Higgins left dozens of projects at Network Rail late and over-budget?”
“The bottom line is that HS2 is a mess, it’s always been a mess, and imagining that this is the fault of a man who has only been in charge for four months is a delusional attempt by politicians to absolve themselves of the reality that it is their lack of scrutiny and objectivity that is responsible for HS2 being a disaster.”
“About the only noticeable thing Morgan has done since he joined HS2 Ltd has been to claim HS2 would more or less wipe out unemployment, stating it would not only create 500,000 jobs, but that that was ‘just the beginning’. To us, this proved Morgan to be absolutely the sort of fantasist who is willing to say anything, which has always been a perfect fit for HS2 Ltd in the past.”
“Even with the normal revolving door of HS2 employees, Terry Morgan’s departure is amazingly rapid. But he was a surprising choice to deal with HS2’s problems of budget overruns and delays anyway. High Speed 2 is a project beyond saving, with plans to slow down and massively descope the project. The government should put this railway out of its misery and cancel it entirely before spending any more tax payers money on it.”