Whistleblowers Say HS2 Bosses Misled the Government on Costs

By Gary Cutlack on at

Panorama is about to give HS2 a bit of a kicking on the BBC tonight, as it's secured the services of a couple of former staff members prepared to go on the record to say that the costs of the new high-speed line were amateurishly estimated, to such an extent that the process was tantamount to misleading the government.

Doug Thornton is the main knife-wielder, who accused the land purchasing cost estimates of being put together in a "slapdash" fashion, also claiming that budgeting for property and land purchases along the route were so wrong there was very nearly a 100 per cent discrepancy between the original estimates and later, better calculated numbers that are in use today.

In effect, the government made the HS2 decision on incorrect guesstimates, and the first wave of bosses at HS2 ignored recommendations that numbers were perhaps quite wrong. A separate former employee said the company is now using higher land cost estimates than the ones provided to the government earlier in the planning process, with the outcome that "hundreds of millions" may have been shaved off estimates of the costs of the project at the time.

This will all be outed and elaborated upon during BBC One's Panorama, tonight at 7:30pm. [Guardian]