According to peers, the expenses of the HS2 rail service presented to be out of control and it should not go without the latest evaluation of the business case. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee claims it is “far from convinced ” the £55.7bn budget is practical and the vital changes should be pondered for keeping costs lower. While completed, HS2 will involve London, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Glasgow along with 18 trains an hour at the top speed of 225mph.
According to the committee, the expenses could be trimmed through reducing speeds and restricting the moving the London terminus. And it claims the booming of the economy of the areas would be better suited by starting construction in the North instead of the South and by constructing the scheme of Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme, at the same time.
Committee Chairperson Lord Forsyth said passenger services in North England are “badly overcrowded” and the area is being “short-changed” by existing plans.
He also added, “It is surprising, therefore, that the Government has not carried out a proper assessment of proposals to reduce the cost of HS2 – such as lowering the speed of the railway or terminating in west London rather than Euston – which the committee recommended in 2015 .” According to him, “ a new appraisal of the project is required. If costs overrun on the first phase of the project, there could be insufficient funding for the rest of the new railway. The northern sections of High Speed 2 must not be sacrificed to make up for overspending on the railway’s southern sections.”
The concern of the committee was resonated by former HS2 chairman Sir Terry Morgan. Sir Terry, moved down after only four months in the job last year, during his resignation as the chairperson of the Crossrail project. The scheme is hundreds of millions of pounds over budget and months behind schedule.
He said on HS2, “ I think the triangle of scope, cost and time – something has to give.” Following the report of the Lords committee, an HS2 Ltd representative said: “HS2 will generate around £92bn in benefits to the UK economy ”.
He also added, “ we are determined to deliver a railway that is value for money for the taxpayer and a project that will reshape the economic geography of the country.
“We have strengthened our controls and are actively applying lessons learned from recent infrastructure projects to ensure we have the most cost-effective approach.”