- Wasted cash could have paid for the salaries of more than 1,500 nurses
- Further questions raised over DfT’s calculations for HS2
Responding to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport that he is scrapping the recent award of the West Coast Main Line rail franchise to FirstGroup, Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:
“This costly fiasco demonstrates serious incompetence on the part of the Department for Transport staff handling the bids, who have left taxpayers with a bill for at least £40 million, enough to pay for over 1,500 nurses. If officials have got their sums wrong over the West Coast franchise, how can we rely on the Department to get the figures right when spending tens of billions of pounds on a vanity project like HS2?
“Spending on infrastructure projects can return huge economic benefits, but the responsible government departments must be making accurate, evidence-based decisions when taxpayers’ cash is at stake.
“This shambles at the Department for Transport has left taxpayers paying the price not only for the costs of repeating the bidding process, but also for any future legal proceedings which may result from the U-turn. Having inherited this mess, Patrick McLoughlin must now ensure that those responsible for the costly errors are held to account and dealt with appropriately.”
The TPA has previously shown how the DfT has miscalculated the costs and benefits of HS2: