HS2 Costs Continue To Rise

The anticipated costs of HS2 continue to rise before a mile of track has been laid…but no one sees any cause for alarm in the Department for Transport.

When the Coalition came to power in 2010, total costs to construct the new line were said to be around  £32bn, a figure which has now increased to over £43 billion plus a further £7 billion plus for the trains.  The Institute of Economic Affairs latest report on HS2 predicts total costs will actually be £80 billion- a figure condemned by the vested interests in favour of the scheme until the Financial Times led with an exclusive  saying the working assumption of the Treasury was that HS2 would cost…£73 billion.

The Labour Party appears to have realised the impact HS2 will have on the public finances including diverting scarce funds from other more pressing transport priorities, and said that the costs must not exceed £50 billion. Its not clear how this limit was calculated and it would appear unlikely it can be met.

In all this talk about the costs of HS2 its important not to forget the likely scale of benefits to the UK economy should HS2 get built-which haven’t changed. Official figures confirm that the benefits from HS2 are strikingly small. So HS2 is a project with ever increasing costs and few benefits.

Hilary Wharf, Director of HS2 Action Alliance said “The official forecasts on costs for HS2 have risen from £33 billion in 2010 to over £42 billion today-and let’s not forget about the £7.5 billion needed for the trains. It would appear the Treasury agrees that costs will be substantially higher. With all these increases its important to remember one thing which hasn’t changed-the benefits which will flow should HS2 be built. These  remain poor- it’s still a project without any proper justification, which has illusory benefits, and is an investment in obsolescence.”

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