HS2 Supreme Court : http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2014/3.html
One can only hope that former Council Solicitor Gillian Beasley, now Chief Executive of Peterborough City Council, hasn't already hit the festive wine cellar (allegedly) buried deep under the Town Hall and is still able to fight for the future of this City.
So far her department seems to have adopted the conservative majority position of doing very little, sitting on hands, hoping all the 'nasty things' will go away.
The next few years are going to be really tough, and other administrations better skilled at top level lobby activity - political arm twisting - (Manchester, Birmingham & Glasgow to name but three) have already have their foot in the door, and a place at the top table.
Peterborough City just seems to rely on their paid membership of the ineffective Local Government Association, a trade association, rather than directly holding the coalition government to account.
Both The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail have pointed up the fact that a new report on HS2 is being sat on by Whitehall. Clearly it would be important for Peterborough City Council to urgently get its hands on the document, perhaps Stewart Jackson MP could step up to the plate, stop worrying about human rights in the Dominican Republic and other distant lands, and how he is to spend his undeserved 11% pay hike, and get hold of a copy, not matter how well thumbed, or even a late draft ?
The Information Commissioner wants it published, so now would be a very good time for this City to wade in, with all guns blazing, to ensure that it is published. NO HALF MEASURES. This is not the time to fiddle whilst the City burns....
The importance of the document to this City, is simply that it casts serious doubt on the viability of the whole High Speed rail project. Clearly if HS2 was either cancelled or even moved over to the East Coast, it would halt the investment and jobs flow OUT OF THIS CITY.
Make no mistake, despite Marcos' assertions, professional top line jobs and meaningful companies are not beating a path to Peterboroughs' door. THE PBROTRIB puts the dear leader to proof that they are... The Conservative majority for all their bluster and slavish obedience to the Party line (why?) know it. They allegedly have the ear of the Prime Minister, so this would be a good time to call in any favours.
Francis Maude and Patrick McLoughlin want Dave to veto the publication of a damning report into HS2. The Project Assessment Review, from November 2011, labels HS2 "red/amber" and in danger of failing; it's feared that publishing it could seriously damage the project. The Mail isn't impressed: "Is this a classic case of Whitehall demanding secrecy for its own sake? Or are the sums and assumptions behind HS2 so shaky that ministers fear losing the public argument if the truth ever gets out?"
Ministers' bid to block report that says HS2 is in danger of failing: Transport Secretary among those calling for PM to veto release
- Ministers are trying to use emergency powers to ban report
- Francis Maude and Patrick McLoughlin say it would cause 'difficulties'
- HS2 critics say the gagging attempt is ‘absolutely disgraceful’
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin called on David Cameron to veto releasing a report that labelled HS2 ‘red/amber’ and in danger of failing.
They claim it would cause ‘political and presentational difficulties’ and could seriously damage the project.
HS2 critics say the gagging attempt is ‘absolutely disgraceful’ and are using Freedom of Information laws to demand that the Project Assessment Review, from November 2011, be published. The Information Commissioner has rejected ministers’ objections and ordered them to release the report.
But in a leaked letter to Mr Cameron, circulated to ministers, Mr Maude and Mr McLoughlin urge that an emergency veto be put in place.
Such a veto is hardly ever used, but was deployed to stop publication of Cabinet discussions of the Iraq War.
The letter to Mr Cameron says: ‘Continuing with the appeal would create political and presentational difficulties at a crucial point in the HS2 project’s development . . . [therefore we should] exercise the veto now . . . Counsel has advised that we are very likely to lose the appeal.
‘We consider that the importance the Government attaches to the successful implementation of the HS2 project . . . justifies the use of the veto in this case as exceptional.
‘Disclosure of such recent information would also have a chilling effect on assessments of other Government projects and, indeed, on advice prepared for Government ministers on many other subjects.
‘Counsel has advised that it will be better to veto now rather than after an adverse tribunal decision.’
A Whitehall source accused ministers of treating the report ‘like top secret intelligence’.
Senior Government sources believe Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood wants publication blocked because it would ‘create a precedent’ meaning all Project Assessment Reviews would have to be released.
Sir Jeremy is also blocking the release of correspondence between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and former US President George W Bush, which the Iraq Inquiry wants to publish.
Despite calls for the appeal to be dropped, the Mail understands it is likely to go ahead.
Whitehall sources predicted that if the Government loses the appeal – as its lawyers expect – then ministers will apply the veto. ‘I’m sure that’s what will happen,’ one insider said.
Joe Rukin, of the Stop HS2 campaign, said it was ‘absolutely disgraceful’ that MPs and the public will not be given the information before a Commons vote to approve HS2 next spring.
‘Trying to keep this secret is an absolute scandal,’ he said.
‘It seems that David Cameron’s so-called transparency agenda is just a fraudulent aspiration.’ The Department for Transport refused to comment, but a source in the department said the latest review found that HS2 was only an ‘amber’ risk, rather than ‘red/amber’.
A Cabinet Office source argued that it was in the public interest to ensure that advice to ministers is not inhibited or watered down because of concerns it may be made public.
HS2 Limited still has many financial hurdles to overcome, hopefully Stewart Jackson MP if he has any hope of being re-elected in May 2015 might like to bone up on the following, if only to ensure the shedloads of public money being diverted away from the East Coast mainline into the flawed HS2 project does at least sometime follow the rules, thdey also apply to EU funds:
HS2 Ltd – Framework Document
Appendix F - Government-wide corporate guidance and instructions
HS2 Ltd must comply with the following general guidance documents: • This document
• ‘Managing Public Money’ and its annexes, issued by HM Treasury http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_mpm_index.htm • ‘The Financial Reporting Manual (FreM)’, issued by HM Treasury http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/otherhmt_frem.htm • ‘Non-Departmental Public Bodies - a Guide for Departments’ (the “NDPB Guide”), issued by the Cabinet Office http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/resources/public-bodies.aspx • ‘Cabinet Office Controls’, guidance issued by the Cabinet Office http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/cabinet-office-controls-guidance • ‘Public Sector Internal Audit Standards’, issued by HM Treasury • https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-sector-internal-audit-standards Appropriate adaptations of sections of ‘Corporate governance in central government departments: Code of good practice’, issued by HM Treasury and Cabinet Office http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_governance_corporate.htm • ‘Management of Risk: Principles and Concepts’ (‘The Orange Book’), issued by HM Treasury http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/orange_book.htm • ‘Policy and Standards Framework – Best practice guidance’, issued by the Cabinet Office http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/policy-and-standards-framework-best-practice-guidance • Guidance on tackling fraud issued by HM Treasury http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_managing_risk_of_fraud.htm • Relevant ‘Dear Accounting Officer’ letters, issued by HM Treasury http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_governance_dao_letters.htm • ‘Regularity, propriety and value for money’, issued by HM Treasury http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_governance_valueformoney.htm • The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s Principles of Good Administration http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/improving-public-service/ombudsmansprinciples/principles-of-good-administration • The ‘Consolidation Officer Memorandum’, issued by HM Treasury http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk • Relevant HM Treasury ‘Dear Consolidation Officer’ letters http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/ • Other relevant guidance and instructions issued by HM Treasury in respect of Whole of Government Accounts http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_government_accounts.htm • Other relevant instructions and guidance issued by the Department for Transport
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