New Forest East

TRANSPORT – HIGH-SPEED RAIL – 19 December 2013

Dr Julian Lewis: On a day when the newspapers are full of reports of the Chief of the Defence Staff’s concern that the armed forces are being hollowed out, does the hon. Lady [Louise Ellman] understand why some of us feel that such a costly project betrays a warped sense of priorities? In particular, has her [Transport Select] Committee devoted any attention to the fact that even in the short time that the project has been in the public domain the estimated cost has increased from about £30 billion to about £50 billion? What concept does she have of us being able to stick even to that higher figure?

[Mrs Louise Ellman: The report emphasises that costs must be controlled and that the whole programme must be actively managed to ensure that there is good value for money. In looking at value for money, we must consider the impact that the investment can have and the consequences of not making it. The consequences for the nation would be that our national network would not be able to deliver the results that are required for a prosperous economy that can benefit all parts of the country.]