The Transport Select Committee are holding an inquiry into the KPMG report on HS2, which was published in September. They have asked for written submissions, (by 19th November) and will be questioning Patrick McLouglin and KPMG on 26th November, the day after the Stop HS2 Lobby Day.
Since it was published, the report has been mired in controversy, with former advisors to HS2 Ltd criticising both the methodology and the results. A FOI request showed that the report had not included the information about the places that would lose out if HS2 was built. And last week’s evidence session on HS2 by the Treasury Select Committee, which focused on the KPMG report, again showed holes in the methodology, leading the Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie MP, to say:
“KPMG acknowledged today that their £15 billion per annum forecast return for the project has no firm statistical foundation. A lot more work is clearly needed.”
This should be no surprise to anyone who has read the entire 96 page report, as tucked away on p83, section 6.3.38 KPMG write
“Instead, we have adopted an approach that uses the relative importance of the different variables found in the statistical analysis to apportion the overall responsiveness of productivity to connectivity. While we recognise that this approach does not have a firm statistical foundation, it enables connectivity to other business and to labour, by car and rail, to be reflected in the analysis and captures.”
The Transport Select Committee website asks for written submissions, by Tuesday 19 November, on the KPMG analysis and the strategic case for HS2, and say the submissions can be “previously published or written specifically for the Committee”, and we would suggest to our supporters that they consider taking part.
Next Tuesday is also the day of the second reading of the High Speed Rail (preparation) bill in the Lords. Because it is a “Money Bill”, the House of Lords cannot amend it, although they will be debating HS2.
However, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara has submitted a “motion to regret” to the Bill. The House of Lords business papers read:
High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill (Money Bill) Second Reading (and remaining stages) [Baroness Kramer]
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara to move, as an amendment to the motion that the bill be now read a second time, at end to insert “but that this House regrets Her Majesty’s Government’s decision to introduce the Bill which authorises preparatory expenditure on a railway as the Bill is premature in the light of (1) the failure to settle upon a route which is consistent with the Government’s statutory duty to have regard to the conservation and enhancement of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and (2) the failure to specify further detail on the route and a limit on expenditure”.