Embarrassed Department for Transport create spurious statistics to cover up their poor business case

The Department for Transport yesterday responded to HS2AA’s 13 February letter about legal action by quoting figures to suggest HS2 delivers £4 of benefit for every additional £1 spent. This was misleading. It is at least three times better than the real facts that DfT themselves published in January when they took their decision to proceed with HS2, and it’s still worse than the prudent and much better alternative of uprating WCML, that delivers more than £5 benefit.

Bruce Weston, Director HS2AA, says “DfT’s January 2012 business case makes absolutely clear that HS2 delivers just £1.40 benefit for every £1 subsidy for London to West Midlands phase, and £1.6 to £1.9 for the full Y.  This is of course before using the latest economic and rail demand forecast tools – which DfT say wipes £0.5 off these figures ie the £1.4 drops to just 90 pence benefit for every £1 spent.  These are not our figures, they are DfT’s.

“Even this is based on DfT still assuming that every minute of time spent on board is wasted – which they now admit is not true.  Adjust for that, which accounts for more than 50% of the schemes benefits, and any shred of a business case has evaporated”

“DfT are choosing to ignore the alternative of uprating WCML that is three times better value for money, again according to their own numbers.   It produces £5.17 benefit for every £1 subsidy and more than meets the DfT long distance rail demand forecast.  Even Network Rail did not contest this” he added.

At a time when UK are facing further pressure on Government spending HS2 is the wrong priority and makes no economic sense.”

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