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Sum kind of overspend

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The “dysfunctional” HS2 high-speed rail company has pressed staff to falsify figures, mislead parliament and cover up “petrifying” overspends, according to claims reported in The Sunday Times.

[HS2 ‘covered up petrifying overspends’, Andrew Gilligan, The Sunday Times, 17 June 2018 (paywall)]

In documents seen by The Sunday Times, Doug Thornton, HS2’s former head of property, said the organisation put him under “tremendous pressure to accede to an enormous deceit” that the official budget for buying land and buildings was accurate.

As recounted by the story,

  • Mr Thornton and the former head of planning and performance, Andrew Bruce, departed HS2 in 2016, as the bill for phase one (London – West Midlands) reached a critical stage in parliament
  • both men have given evidence to the National Audit Office, which is investigating HS2’s land and property budget
  • HS2 Ltd maintains that buying the 11,000 properties needed to construct phase one would cost £2.8 billion, but Mr Bruce had calculations showing the sum could be around £4.7 billion.

At the time of writing, on his LinkedIn entry, it is stated that Mr Bruce “Developed the programme for the purchase of £4.8 Bn worth of land and property” for HS2 Ltd.

Andrew Bruce, formerly of HS2 Ltd, linkedin, extract

HS2, Estimate of expense, in parliament 2013 - 2014

Written by beleben

June 17, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

One Response

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  1. In the first HS2 Cost & Risk report dated 2009 the cost of land acquisition was stated to be £0.93bn. This had already tripled to £2.8bn by November 2013 when the Hybrid Bill estimate was signed off by Alison Munro. The £4.7bn estimate seems reasonable given the vast amounts of land & properties needed. Of course most people seem to be getting a very bad deal & many people affected will get nothing.

    John

    June 18, 2018 at 1:13 pm


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