By Jonathan Davies

There is 'no convincing case' for the government to spend £50 billion on the HS2 project, according to a group of Lords.

A report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said the government still had to prove the economic benefits of HS2.

The government has maintained that the high-speed rail link between London and the North will increase rail capacity and improve journey times, therefore helping to rebalance the economy.

A government spokesperson said HS2 would deliver big economic benefits, but the report suggested that there are less expensive

"The Government have not carried out a proper assessment of whether alternative ways of increasing capacity are more cost-effective than HS2," Chair of the Committee, Lord Hollick, said.

"In terms of rebalancing, London is likely to be the main beneficiary from HS2. Investment in improving rail links in the North of England might deliver much greater economic benefit at a fraction of the cost."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "It is a vital part of the government's long-term economic plan, strongly supported by Northern and Midland cities, alongside our plans for better east-west rail links confirmed in the Northern Transport Strategy last week.

"Demand for long distance rail travel has doubled in the past 15 years... it is crucial we press ahead with delivering HS2 on time and budget and we remain on track to start construction in 2017."