die belebende Bedenkung

What is the HS2 Wider Programme?

with 4 comments

Chris Grayling has been accused of “hiding” details of the budgets and timescales for HS2 from an official document amid rising concerns about the cost of the project (reported

[Chris Grayling accused of ‘hiding’ details of HS2 budgets, Dean Kirby, The i News, 28 July 2017]

The 196-page Development Agreement between the Transport Secretary and HS2 Ltd drawn up in 2014 and updated earlier this month sets out how the project will be managed and delivered. But key pages in the document including the “baseline delivery schedule” and the “cost model” for the first phase of the scheme have been redacted, along with an annex of “budget envelopes” and “target prices”. Even the definition of the term “budget envelope” has also been redacted.

HS2 Development Agreement July 2017, 'Core and Wider programmes'

The July 2017 Agreement states that the HS2 ‘Core Programme‘ means “the High Speed 2 project (comprised of Phase One, Phase 2a and Phase 2b) for the design, procurement, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of a new Railway, and includes all the work and functions to be carried out by HS2 Ltd in accordance with this Agreement, and any reference to the ‘Core Programme’ includes a reference to a part thereof. The Core Programme will deliver the benefits set out in the Business Case.”

But it states that “the SoS has initiated a wider programme (the ‘Wider Programme‘) to ensure that HS2 Ltd helps to deliver the government’s objectives for growth and regeneration. The Wider Programme will deliver benefits beyond those set out in the Business Case.”

The official £55.7 billion cost of HS2 refers to the Core Programme, but the costs of the Wider Programme – whatever that is – do not appear to have any numbers attached.

In the view of the Beleben blog, the cost of the so-called Core Programme looks likely to exceed £55.7 billion, for a number of reasons, with Mr Grayling’s penchant for ‘financialisation’ having the potential to add billions to the expenditure.

Coming clean about the cost, before substantive construction has commenced, might well lead to public and political pressure to cancel the entire project. It seems likely that the disclosure policy for cost escalations would be to ‘drip-feed’, and defer for as long as possible.

Financialisation can add billions to public expenditure

Financialisation, for example private-finance-initiative schemes, can add billions to public expenditure


Written by beleben

July 31, 2017 at 9:54 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

4 Responses

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  1. Is it £55.7billion at 2017 prices? I was listening to LBC Radio on 21 January 2016 when the then SoS for Transport stated that HS2 would cost £50bn at 2012 prices.

    Michael Wand

    July 31, 2017 at 10:46 am

    • £55.7billion at 2015 prices, officially. The real cost is likely to be considerably higher.


      August 2, 2017 at 6:13 am

  2. The Wider Programme = £40bn+ of property development?


    July 31, 2017 at 9:05 pm

  3. To get some idea of what the cost of the wider programme is either google or go on twitter to follow this # #HiddenCostofHS2. The suggested figure, which includes Social Costs which have so far been ignored, is an additional £3.97 bn so far. This does not yet include the extra cost of completing the building of the network Rail part of Euston Station and the new hub station at Crewe, both of which are not covered by the official £55.7bn HS2 budget.

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