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08.12.14

Transport secretary to testify before Lords Economic Affairs Committee on HS2

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will appear before the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee tomorrow, where he will be asked to explain and justify the government’s economic case for HS2.

The Lords are expected to push the transport secretary on issues including how the government plans to stop overspends; if the evidence base used in the business case is robust enough to justify a £50bn spend; and whether London will benefit more from HS2 than the Midlands and the north, as evidence from France has shown Paris benefited most from high speed rail.

McLoughlin will give evidence alongside Lord Deighton, commercial secretary to the Treasury and the chair of the HS2 Growth Task Force.  

Other areas the committee plans to address are:

  • Whether the government’s calculations of the benefits of HS2 take adequate account of the ability to do productive work on a train journey.
  • Whether a different ticket pricing policy could encourage passengers to travel when trains are less full and solve the problems of rail capacity that HS2 hopes to address.
  • The impact that increasing demand for flexible working arrangements will have on the demand for commuter services?
  • Will any towns and cities receive a reduction in their existing rail services as a result of HS2?
  • Why is HS2 seen as the only solution to the capacity problem?
  • The level of subsidy the taxpayer will have to pay for HS2 and the UK rail network once HS2 is operational.

The evidence session will start at 3.35pm tomorrow (Tuesday 9 December) in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords and will be broadcast online.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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