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15/05/2013
'Virtually no evidence' HS2 will boost growth, damning report finds from NOA.


'Virtually no evidence' HS2 will boost growth, damning report finds
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 11:02 PM By Ian Dunt
The business case for High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) has dealt a body-blow today, with the publication of a report which raises serious questions about the research which has gone into the project.
The National Audit Office (NAO) found the business case for the rail line was built on problematic analysis and vague data, in a report which will cause embarrassment at the Department for Transport.
"The department has produced a business case that is clearly not up to scratch," public accounts committee chairman Margaret Hodge commented.
"Some of their assumptions are just ludicrous. To take just one example, on the benefits to business travellers, the department continues to assume that business travellers do not work when on the train and to use data that is over ten years old."
The NAO criticised the Department for Transport for assuming a link between reduced journey times and the strategic reasons for the project, such as rebalancing regional economies, when it felt the link was "unclear".
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The department had not even specified if the business case referred to just the London-West Midlands route or the full Y-shaped network with lines from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.
The NAO also spotted a £3.3 billion funding gap over four years (2017-18 to 2020-21) which the government has yet to decide how to fill.

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