No more Mr Get-a-grip
[Appoint HS2 minister to get grip on costs, urges Lord Adonis, Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, 30 August 2013 ]
The architect of HS2, the high-speed rail scheme between London, the Midlands and the north of England, has demanded that the government appoint a dedicated minister for the project to guard it against ballooning costs, poor management and vanishing support.
Lord Adonis, who set out the plans for the network as transport secretary in 2010, lambasted the coalition’s inertia and “extremely poor project management”. He warned that increased contingencies in the project’s expanded budget were “an invitation to massive overspending“.
In October 2013, Labour’s Mary Creagh repeated the get-a-grip shtick.
But the “get-a-grip” / “no blank cheque” shtick appears to have gone down the pan. Now, Labour is calling for ‘up to an extra £500 million’ of public cash to be spent on HS2’s Euston station, for something or other.
Euston HS2 has the potential to be a kingsize money pit, so Lilian Greenwood’s “£500 million extra” brainwave would be quite an odd way of “getting a grip”.
The new Conservative majority government seems to hold Andrew Adonis in high esteem, as he was appointed as ‘chair’ of the National Infrastructure Commission. The NIC is supposed to ‘enable long term strategic decision making to build effective and efficient infrastructure for the UK’.
With Andrew Adonis installed as NIC chair, why isn’t he reversing HS2’s “ballooning costs, poor management, and vanishing public support”? Why hasn’t the government removed the increased contingencies which Mr Get-a-grip claimed were “an invitation to massive overspending”? Could it be, perhaps, that he is a big-mouth charlatan?