In October 2023, government announced significant changes to the High Speed Two (HS2) programme. The HS2 programme had aimed to construct a high-speed, high-capacity railway between London and Manchester via Birmingham. Government announced:

  • ending the railway at Birmingham (by completing Phase 1 of the programme)
  • the cancellation of routes between Birmingham and Crewe (Phase 2a), Crewe and Manchester (Phase 2b), and East Midlands to West Midlands (HS2 East)
  • plans for a smaller station at Euston and wider redevelopment of the area, funded by private investment

The Department for Transport (DfT) is the programme’s sponsor, responsible for funding and overseeing delivery. HS2 Ltd, an arm’s-length body of DfT, is responsible for delivering an operational railway.


Following the changes announced in October 2023, this report will examine how DfT and HS2 Ltd are approaching their management of costs and benefits on key areas of the HS2 programme. It will examine how DfT and HS2 Ltd are:

  • protecting and managing benefits on Phase 1, including at Euston 
  • establishing a land and property disposal programme of work that will deliver value for money and minimising costs in the wind down of Phase 2
  • identifying lessons from how they have managed the programme and how they are setting themselves up to address issues raised

NAO Team

Director: Jonny Mood
Audit Manager: Martin Chong