Public Accounts Committee

High Speed 2 Limited Annual Report and Accounts inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The Public Accounts Committee will examine High Speed 2 Limited Annual Report and Accounts on Monday 30 October 2017.

Scope of the inquiry

High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2) is a company owned by the Government that is tasked with delivering a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham, Manchester, and potentially beyond.

The National Audit Office (NAO) published its audit of HS2's 2016–17 accounts in July. It found that HS2 was making large redundancy pay-outs totally £2.76 million, of which £1.76 million were not appropriately authorised. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) subsequently qualified the accounts.

As a result of the decision to move its headquarters to Birmingham, HS2 needed to make redundancies, and received written advice from the Department of Transport that these should be at levels comparable to market conditions in the rail sector. HS2 asked DfT to allow enhanced redundancy terms but approval was not granted; however enhanced payments were still made. The NAO has not seen evidence that either DfT or HM Treasury approved these payments.

The Public Accounts Committee will ask officials from HS2 Ltd and the Department of Transport about the financial health of HS2 Ltd, about why large redundancy payments were made without the appropriate permissions, and what HS2 Ltd will do to satisfy the C&AG's qualification on their audited accounts.

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