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Jonathan Kay
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Jonathan Kay
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New NAO report. Conclusions in full:

"High Speed Two is an ambitious national programme, the construction of which will take decades. The Department, HS2 Ltd and government more widely underestimated the task, leading to optimistic estimates being used to set budgets and delivery dates. In not fully and openly recognising the programme’s risks from the outset, the Department and HS2 Ltd have not adequately managed the risks to value for money. If these risks had been recognised and managed earlier, then the significant activity in a pressured environment over the past year trying to understand and contain cost increases may not have been necessary. There are lessons to be learned from the experience of High Speed Two for other major infrastructure programmes.

We welcome the increased realism on the estimated cost and schedule for the programme. However, significant risks remain. While the estimated cost and schedule for Phase One are now on a stronger footing, the challenge of getting Phase One into construction, and of monitoring and managing the programme as it progresses, is considerable. Phase Two is at a far earlier stage of development with many important decisions to be made before HS2 Ltd and the Department can improve cost and schedule estimates. Completing High Speed Two will require sustained focus and support from the Department and across government to ensure the programme is re‑established on a sound basis, balancing cost, time and benefits, and delivered in a way that achieves long-term value for money."

Jonathan

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Without having read all the detail, at a high level it sounds like the already highly questionable maths used to justify HS2 has been thrown into further disarray.

I can't see how with a potential doubling of the costs this can be considered the right solution moving forward. 

Listening to the radio last night there was an interesting comment from an independent consultant, he described HS2 as a very expensive way to solve the London to Milton Keynes commuter problem!

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The BBC say that they've seen the final report... "strong support" for the whole scheme.

Jonathan

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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/09/prioritise-northern-powe...

Interesting views from places other than London & the south east.

Stephen

Democratic dissent is not disloyalty, it is a positive civic duty

Jonathan Kay
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All phases to go ahead. "Looking for cost savings" in northern phases. Unspecified integration with Northern Powerhouse Rail. "Changes to management."

That's roughly as expected, but doesn't (currently) include another review of the northern phases.

Jonathan