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HS2 Project struggling for Funds

The high-speed rail project is suffering in gaining its funding.  Whitehalls spending watchdog has estimated is shortfall at £3.3billion. The government has always maintained that the HS2 project will help give the economy a well needed boost.  However the National Audit Office (NAO) has said that it has reservations and didn’t understand how this project could deliver the economy boost.  They stated that the first phase of the project would be a challenge to keep to the scheduled timetable and questioned the Department of Transport (DfE) methodology.  This project has been controversial since the start. 

The first phase of the project is between London and Birmingham. The project has been criticised for the fact that officials had concentrated on more reliable shorter journeys and not really taken into consideration how it could help rebalance regional economy.

The second phase has a better economic case in regards to helping out the area although this is not certain as route designs are still in early stages. The second phase of the rail project is between Manchester and Leeds.

The shortfall is £3.3billion for 2017 – 2021 which fits in with phase one and the peak of the spending. It is still being decided how best to find this funding.

Amyas Morse who is the NAO chief has questioned the lack of clarity in the strategy of the DfT and has said that it is too early to estimate whether project will earn value for money and how that it is unclear how HS2 will deliver jobs and growth to help the regional economies.

The chair for the Commons’ Public Account Committee was not happy with the plans for HS2 “There is virtually no evidence in this business case to support claims that that HS2 will deliver regional economic growth…”

It has been said that the HS2 project will deliver 100,000 jobs although there is no evidence to support this. The DfT has set out a strict timetable for the HS2 project which allows no room for mistakes.

There are worries that unless the department has a rethink in strategy for HS2 then it will not deliver value for taxpayer or benefits for travellers and the regional areas.

All of these worries have been echoing what the “Stop HS2 Campaign” has been saying for a long time.  Now that NAO are saying the same thing, will measures have to be taken to sort it out?  Asks Joe Rukin, who is the Stop HS2 campaign manager

Work on Phase one is to start in 2016/17. Services should start in 2026.

Work on Phase two, which will take the line to Manchester via Crewe and then to Leeds via Derby and Sheffield in a Y-Shape.  With plans to be completed in 2032/33. 

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