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Treasury urged to produce case for High Speed 2

An influential group of MPs has urged the Treasury to publish its own justification for the controversial £42.6bn High Speed 2 (HS2) project.

The cross-party Treasury select committee said the hybrid bill to allow the rail link to proceed should not go before Parliament until the government had formally reassessed the scheme.

“There appear to be serious shortcomings in the current cost-benefit analysis for HS2. The economic case must be looked at again,” said committee chairman Andrew Tyrie.

“The Bill should not proceed until this work has been done and the project has been formally reassessed by the government.”

He said that the £42.6bn cost of building the infrastructure for HS2 meant the construction cost had increased by almost 20% before it had started.

“We need reassurance that it can deliver the benefits intended and that these benefits are greater than those of other transport schemes – whether in the department’s project pipeline or not - which may be foregone,” Tyrie added.

Last month the Public Accounts Committee said that the government had failed to prove that HS2 was value for money.

“The Department for Transport has yet to present a convincing strategic case for High Speed 2,” said the committee’s chairman Margaret Hodge.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond last week defended the scheme, insisting that it would deliver £2 of economic benefits for every £1 spent.

The Department for Transport added that the case for HS2 would be further improved when it publishes shortly an updated strategic case – including cost benefit analysis which will show that project offers “high value for money”.

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