HS2 is over budget and behind schedule because the Department for Transport and wider government have underestimated its complexity and risk.

That’s according to the findings of the National Audit Office whose report published this morning who say that significant challenges to completing the programme and delivering value for taxpayers and passengers remain.

The Government’s latest estimate of the cost of HS2 is between £65 billion and £88 billion , between 17% and 58% over available funding. The programme is still at an early stage, and costs are uncertain and could change. Full services on the entire network are now forecast to start between 2036 and 2040, between three and seven years later than originally planned says the report

Earlier this week, however, a leaked government-commissioned review suggested that the total could reach £106bn.

There are important lessons to be learned from HS2, not only for the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd, but for other major infrastructure programmes. To ensure public trust, the Department and HS2 Ltd must be transparent and provide realistic assessments of costs and completion dates as the programme develops, recognising the many risks to the successful delivery of the railway that remain.” says
Gareth Davies, head of the NAO


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