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MPs cast doubt on HS2 timetable and costs

Words: Huw Morris

Ministers have been told by MPs to set out a ‘realistic’ timetable for delivering HS2 and to come clean on its costs.

The highly influential Public Accounts Committee said it is “not convinced” that the target for completing phase 1 between London and the West Midlands by December 2026 will be met.

MPs also warned that costs for phase 2 of the scheme to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds are “volatile” and breach available funding by £7 billion.

Committee chair Meg Hillier said: “The government has promised significant benefits to taxpayers in return for their investment in HS2, expected to run to more than £55 billion.

“Despite this, Parliament and the public are still in the dark about crucial details - not least when the railway will open, how much it is expected to cost and precisely where it will go."

Earlier this week HS2 chief executive Simon Kirby announced his departure from the company. Hillier pointed to "uncertainty enveloping a project on which strong and stable leadership is vital”.

The report is available here.

Image credit | HS2