Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Transport desk to be quizzed by MPs

MPs are to question the transport secretary over a report that predicted the HS2 high-speed rail project would boost the UK economy by £15bn a year.Patrick McLoughlin, as well as the report's authors KPMG, will appear before the Commons Transport Select Committee on 26 November.

Mr McLoughlin had used the report's positive findings to boost support for the £50bn HS2 project.But BBC Newsnight in a while revealed how some regions may suffer losses. It scheduled the regions it said would profit from the building of HS2, with Greater London (£2.8bn) and West Midlands (£1.5bn) the biggest winners, but omitted details of those who would end up worse off.Mr McLoughlin obtainable the findings, saying HS2 would make "Britain stronger".

But, the degree to which regions not on the proposed line would be exaggerated was only exposed following a freedom of information request approved to BBC Two's Newsnight programme. It showed that more than 50 places crossways the UK - such as Aberdeen, Bristol and Cardiff - would be worse off as a result of HS2.

A Department for Transport spokesman said it welcome the committee's inquiry."HS2 is very important to the future of our country - it tackles the congestion problem south of Birmingham and will carry our great towns and cities earlier together."

He said the KPMG report "makes an significant payment to our understanding of the crash of HS2"."It is obvious from their analysis that the country as a whole will profit from the new north-south railway," he added.
£15bn estimate 'low'
Patrick Mr McLoughlin has said HS2 would profit the entire country. Last week, KPMG's head of infrastructure, building and construction, Richard Threlfall, told the Commons Treasury choose Committee there had been no force from HS2 Ltd over the way the report was available.
He discarded suggestions his employer "cherry picked" the most optimistic aspect of the research and said it had "gone out of our way to be as clear as possible".
And Lewis Atter, a partner in KPMG's global infrastructure and projects group, told the MPs that if something the £15bn figure was "a little low". Labor MP Louise Ellman, who chairs the transport committee which backs the planned case for HS2 in a 2011 report, said: "HS2 is a hugely significant and controversial investment."We are following up the questions we raised in our earlier report, in the light of significant new information."Transport expert have also question the dependability of the methods used to compute the benefits.

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