Check HS2 value, says Barking MP Margaret Hodge

MP Margaret Hodge

MP Margaret Hodge - Credit: Archant

The projected costs and benefits of a proposed high-speed rail link must be scrutinised to ensure it represents value for money, Barking MP Margaret Hodge has warned.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mrs Hodge, who is chair of Parliament’s public accounts committee, said the £50billion budget for HS2 may be better invested elsewhere to improve transport links.

“The pattern so far has been for costs to spiral - from more than £16bn to £21bn plus for phase one - and the estimated benefits to dwindle,” she said.

“Everyone wants better transport infrastructure and we all welcome investment in our railways. But the question my committee wants to ask is - if you have £50bn to spend on the railways, should you be spending it here?”

She added that the money could be better used to ease congestion on existing routes by introducing longer trains and platforms.