‘Serious shortcomings’ in research related to the UK’s high-speed rail project have prompted the Treasury Select Committee to call for the project’s suspension.
The parliament committee believes a "more convincing" economic case is needed for the £42.6bn scheme to get the green light. The economic case should describe in greater detail how the project will deliver promised benefits, such as jobs and regional growth, the committee said.
"There appear to be serious shortcomings in the current cost-benefit analysis for HS2,” said Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie. “The economic case must be looked at again and the Bill should not proceed until this work has been done and the project has been formally reassessed by the government.”
The estimated cost of the HS2 construction has increased by 17 per cent before the work even started. The current £42.6 billion cost estimate excludes a large contingency reserve.
While one recent independent study foresees the eventual cost rising up to £80bn, the Treasury is expecting the cost to be more than £70bn.
The concerns were raised as part of the committee's inquiry into the 2013 spending round that set departmental settlements for the 2015/16 financial year, which starts just weeks before the next general election.