Mark Leftly: The High Speed 2 rail link still carries too much baggage


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The Independent Online

Westminster Outlook The Public Accounts Committee says today it is sceptical that, at £50bn, High Speed 2 will “deliver value for money for the taxpayer”. That’s not a huge surprise given that committee chair Margaret Hodge has been personally sceptical for some time.

Interestingly, though, the committee’s report on rail infrastructure spending also points out that HS2’s budget contains a “generous contingency” of £14.4bn, and that the team behind the project have failed to outline the economic benefits for Scotland.

The committee is right to point out these failings. The construction industry is notorious for eating up any contingency available, and one of the seemingly forgotten points of HS2, in the long term, was to speed up connections between London and the great Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.