Campaigners are urging the government to put the HS2 rail project on hold so that an urgent review can be carried out into the scheme’s cost.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA), has asked the transport select committee to launch a “comprehensive review” of the project.
His demand follows the revelation by The Sunday Times that HS2 could cost more than £400m per mile, making it the world’s costliest railway. Including extensions to Manchester and Leeds, the scheme could cost £104bn, according to Michael Byng, who devised the standard method used by Network Rail to cost its projects.
In an open letter to Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee, O’Connell writes: “We believe the project should be paused while an urgent review is conducted.”
O’Connell said: “HS2 has never made sense and will be one of the most expensive mistakes a government could make. The lack of oversight on the project has led to unimaginable waste.”
However, a Department for Transport official said it was “total nonsense” to suggest HS2 was going over budget.