A longer selection than normal of HS2 news items, also including some from August in case you missed them.
Public Accounts Committee’s ‘damning’ verdict on High Speed rail project
Scheme branded ‘ludicrous’ and ‘will not deliver value for the taxpayer’
Ministers are bracing themselves for a savaging by spending watchdogs over the ‘value for money’ of the Government’s controversial flagship High Speed rail project.
Parliament’s powerful Public Accounts Committee chaired by Labour MP Margaret Hodge is set early next week to deliver its own ‘damning’ verdict on official plans and costings for 225mph HS2 line linking London to the Midlands and the North.
The High Speed Rail project could still be scrapped if costs continue to soar, the Treasury’s top civil servant has warned.
The government has not signed a ‘blank cheque’ for the railway line linking the capital to the Midlands and North, Nick Macpherson, the permanent secretary at the Treasury told MPs.
Institute of Directors IoD calls on government to abandon HS2 project
The Institute of Directors calls on the Government to abandon the high-speed rail project after its members say the scheme is “not worth the money”.
Members of the Institute of Directors have given the thumbs down to government plans for HS2 with IoD Director General Simon Walker slamming the scheme as “a grand folly”.
Spectator: Ed Balls: ‘There is no blank cheque for HS2′
Here is the transcript of what he said:
‘We have consistently supported plans for a new north-south rail link, but it’s got to work, it has got to be value for money. As Alistair said today, the government’s approach to this has been completely chaotic. He’s drawn one conclusion… I think the best way for me to say that to you Carol is there’s no blank cheque from a Labour treasury for HS2, it’s got to be value for money.
Telegraph: Kill HS2 say Tory activists
Conservative Grassroots, representing dozens of Tory association chairmen, believes the proposed high-speed train link between London and the North is a “hugely expensive white elephant” that will result in the “destruction of the countryside”.
A leading London academic has claimed that the estimated £50 billion fund for the high-speed rail link from London to the North of England will not provide value for money for taxpayers.
Tony Travers, an expert in Government and advisor to the mayor, said the public cash for HS2 would be better spent on improving the railways and other transport projects.
George Osborne vowed yesterday that the controversial High Speed 2 rail project will go ahead despite fears over soaring costs.
The Chancellor said he was ‘passionate’ about the planned high-speed rail line which will link London to the North of England and West Midlands.
Information obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveals HS2 will blight the lives of more than 500,000 unsuspecting people along a 40-mile-wide corridor through the heart of Middle England.
According to HS2’s own information, during the seven-year construction phase, huge convoys of trucks will rumble through dozens of peaceful towns and villages far from the line itself, bringing chaos and congestion in their wake.
Mail on Sunday Comment: Halt HS2 monstrosity in its tracks
Government Ministers will always be predisposed to multi-billion-pound vanity projects that offer a tangible achievement for which they can claim the credit. HS2 is no different. That is why its only real supporters sit on the front benches of the three main political parties.
It is only the politicians (and the contractors) who extol the dubious economic benefits of spending £50 billion to shave five minutes off the rail journey between London and Birmingham; the politicians who have wilfully ignored the concerns of the majority who are opposed to this ludicrous plan.
The controversial new high-speed rail line will cost every household £3,000 and ‘defies economic logic’, an independent report has warned.
Senior Tories were braced for a revolt against HS2 after a study found its price tag had soared to £80billion, double the official estimate.
The report, released today, increased the pressure on David Cameron to abandon the scheme.
The cost of the controversial High Speed 2 rail line could reach £73billion, senior Treasury officials have warned ministers.
In a sign of the growing opposition to the project within parts of the Treasury, officials have stopped using the latest £42.6billion estimate in favour of the higher figure.
Some believe the cost of the flagship project is out of control and are warning that it cannot be justified.
Lord Ashcroft, a former party donor and an influential figure in the Conservatives, said that Mr Cameron “must scrap HS2 and scrap it now”.
His intervention came after Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor and transport secretary, warned that the UK’s rail network could “fall apart” because of the spiralling cost of High Speed 2.
Former Labour Chancellor and Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has written an article for the Times in which he reveals he is now against the proposed HS2 high-speed rail link.
Google is so last year, according to an analysis of the companies and projects most frequently mentioned in ministers’ speeches.
David Pitchford, the head of the Major Projects Authority, said the HS2 scheme is likely to remain an “Amber/Red” scheme because of the uncertainty around it.
The Authority was formally set up in 2010 with a mandate from David Cameron to turn around the Civil Service’s record of delivering projects.
Daily Express: Let’s get rid of potholes
A POTHOLE crusader has called on the Government to ditch expensive “vanity projects” like the High Speed 2 rail link and commit £40billion to repairing Britain’s crumbling roads.
We are Barnsley: HS2 Officials Apologise After Misleading Information
HS2 OFFICIALS have apologised for the ‘inevitable concern’ caused after misleading information was sent out.
Proposals for the preferred phase two route of the high-speed rail link were announced in January, extending the network north from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, passing through parts of Barnsley.
Express and Star: HS2 in shock snub by Legal & General
Financial giant Legal & General, which controls £441bn of investments, is looking to plough £15bn into UK infrastructure projects.
But its chief executive has ruled out financing the controversial high speed rail speed project because it offers ‘little economic benefit’.
The comments were today welcomed by Staffordshire anti-HS2 campaigner Trevor Forrester who claimed it showed support for HS2 was dwindling.
HS2 bosses have announced plans to demolish what is believed to be the “last surviving trace of a civil engineering masterpiece” by the railway pioneer Robert Stephenson.
An original 1833 wall and below-ground brickwork arch in the “Camden Cutting” – where the train tracks come out at Parkway en route to Euston – is believed to be part of a feat of engineering considered at the time to be “on a par with the Pyramids”.