You Cannot Be Serious

This morning the Government’s HS2 fightback will be in full flow with a speech by the Secretary of State for Transport  extolling the findings of a report from KPMG about the benefits which will flow from HS2.

HS2AA believes HS2 has significant problems which can’t be wished away by a report dreamt up by the vested interests who have so much to gain should HS2 proceed.

Don’t just take our word for it- Independent bodies such as the National Audit Office, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee and the Centre for Economic and Business Research have looked at HS2 and identified major problems.

To give just one example of the flaws in today’s report, when HS2 was originally appraised in February 2011, the scheme’s  wider economic benefits over a 60 year project life were only £6.3 billion (Economic case for HS2, February 2011, Table 2, page 12). We’re now being told  that they’re  mysteriously increased to £15 billion a year. To quote John McEnroe, you cannot be serious!

Hilary Wharf, Director of HS2AA said

It is always depressing when you hear Ministers make statements that they know to be untrue. A quick study of the DfT’s own figures show that Euston is second least crowded London station for long distance travellers – beaten only by  HS1. The vastly cheaper alternatives more than meet the Government’s own projected growth for the next 30 years – and these take no account that passenger journeys actually dropped in Q1 of this year.

“Much has been made of the potential disruptions of upgrades to the WCML but of course the major upgrades have been done and the required developments to release capacity would be tiny in comparison. Indeed the disruption in converting a First Class carriage to a standard one, or from train lengthening is nothing compared to rebuilding Euston and having several platforms out of use for eight years, that HS2 requires.  But this pragmatic unsexy approach doesn’t fit with the need for a political legacy that is so clear in the Government’s increasingly strident defence of this white elephant.

“Betting £50 billion on a single train line being the solution to the economic woes of the country outside of London really is irresponsible – and doesn’t cover up for the lack of a coherent economic strategy for the regions.

“It’s time to accept the facts: HS2 is an unnecessary waste of money.

A copy of our press release can be viewed here

Comments are closed.