Today, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee have published their follow-up report on HS2. They say much the same as not only they did last time, but pretty much what every single independent report on HS2 has ever said: that it won’t come in anywhere near on budget; that the case for it has never been made; the entire budget could be blown on phase one; and it would be a better idea to invest specifically in transport infrastructure in the North of England.
In a display of the competence everyone has come to know and love from Chris Grayling, he responded by saying that any hopeful to replace Theresa May as next Tory leader should take his advice and keep HS2, and with reference to the Lords Committee “They may claim the funding is out of control. I don’t know how they would know the funding is out of control because HS2 has a budget and I have been very clear to the HS2 team, ‘you live within your budget’.”
Well Chris how would they know? How could they possibly have come to that conclusion? Might it have been that it’s what the former chair of HS2 Sir Terry Morgan told them? Could it be that when he appeared in front of the committee and asked what HS2 will end up costing he said “Nobody Knows”? Is it that he said the project cannot be delivered to budget, scope and schedule and that something has to give?
That’s why the EAC said those things Chris, because the bloke who was actually in charge of the project told them. And given that Sir Terry Morgan was also formerly chair of Crossrail, he knows everythign there is about projects being late, over budget and descoped.
If like Chris Grayling, you can’t remember any of this, here is the video…
PS – Just to prove the HS2 business case is fundamentally flawed, this post was written entirely on a train.