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Lest anyone fears the desecration of our national icon is proceeding like clockwork, a couple of encouraging stories have recently emerged..

First, George Freeman, Minister of State at the Department of Transport has told Parliament “The estimated cost is £1.7 billion (or £1.92 billion including VAT)”. But who believes that figure is up-to–date and that it won’t escalate far beyond that, like HS2? Will we suddenly hear “Whoops, it’s twice or three times more than we thought so we’re going to have to review the project in terms of whether it’s value for money”?

Second: According to The Yorkshire Post Grant Shapps, who has taken over from Chris Grayling as Transport Secretary, has imposed a two page limit on information sent to him about the management of Britain’s railways and has told officials that submissions to him

“should be no longer than 2 pages with no exceptions and no annexes. The submissions should set out the issue and the recommendation. The Secretary of State will come back for more information as needed. He will pay attention to the font sizes and margins of the document.”

It would appear that “Failing Grayling” has been replaced by “Quick Snaps Shapps”! Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before one of the two page submissions he receives will admit that the scheme is ill-conceived and the cost is out of control!





September 2019

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