A Labour peer has suggested Whitehall is keeping the public in the dark regarding the true cost of HS2, which he claims could have doubled in price for its first phase between London and Birmingham from £26bn to £51bn.
Lord Berkeley OBE said it was time to 'pause and descope' on the project, claiming that the Department for Transport 'still cling onto their £24bn [for phase one], priced in 2013, but few in the sector believe them'.
In a letter to the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, he referenced a review of costs carried out by Michael Byng using the Rail Method of Measure Volume 1 Cost Planning 'introduced by Network Rail in 2014 and in widespread use throughout the railway industry'.
Pricing up the cost of the Phase One line, Mr Byng apparently came to the initial price of roughly £47.9bn, but Lord Berkeley pointed out that since then the Government has increased or changed the scope, leading to a further £3.2bn in costs, according to Mr Byng.
Transport expert Christian Wolmar tweeted in response: 'It is amazing that there has been no recent detailed analysis of costs. Is it because the truth would cause a backlash.'
A spokesman at HS2 Ltd said there had been no new increases in costs and it 'didn't recognise the figures'.
Sources also suggested that Whitehall was having a hard time getting hold of the Byng analysis, which was 'illusive' itself.
Transport Network approached the DfT for comment and Lord Berkeley for a copy of the report; however neither were available at the time of publication.