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14.07.14

House of Lords to investigate economic case for HS2

A new inquiry into the economic case for the £50bn HS2 project is to be conducted by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

The inquiry, which will be the first undertaken during the chairmanship of Labour peer Lord Hollick, will not cover aspects of planning or the impact of the Hybrid Bill on individuals with property on the proposed HS2 route.  It will be limited to the economic case for the development of HS2.

Lord Hollick said: “HS2 is likely to represent one of the biggest infrastructure investment programmes in the UK for decades. With over £50 billion of public money estimated to be spent it is vital that the public has confidence the project will produce real economic benefits.

“Our inquiry will attempt to get to the bottom of what the real economic impact of HS2 will be, who will benefit and who might lose out. We will find out whether the Government has taken full account of all the economic considerations in setting out the case for HS2 and what the impact will be in different parts of the UK.”

The Committee have published a Call for Evidence and invite written submissions to arrive no later than 15 September. The areas where the Committee is inviting evidence include:

  • Is there an economic case for HS2?
  • Should the Department for Transport’s Strategic Case for HS2 published in October 2013 have included any other factors in making an economic case for the project?
  • What are the likely economic benefits of HS2 to the Midlands, the North of England and to Scotland? Do they depend on complementary action by government and local authorities, for example by developing measures to attract investment and skilled workers?
  • Will London be the main economic beneficiary of HS2? Might some areas of the country suffer economic disadvantage?
  • How should HS2 be operated? Should it be a franchise in competition with the West and East Coast Main Lines?
  • Should travellers pay higher fares on HS2 than other lines?
  • Does the prospect of HS3 affect the economic case for HS2?

Lord Hollick added: “Our inquiry and the report that we produce will be based on the evidence we receive. While we are not the right avenue for individuals who wish to comment on the impact of the proposed route on their property – that role will fall to the Hybrid Bill Committees of both Houses of Parliament – we are very interested to hear from anyone who can comment on the economic case for HS2 more broadly, We would invite written evidence to be sent to us by the 15 September.”

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