Drop HS2 from political commitments

As the Party’s prepare their manifesto’s there is a real opportunity to re-think strategy, policy and how best to spend resources, especially in the wake of BREXIT and what matters to the vast majority of the voting public.

HS2AA has written to key figures involved in developing party policy setting out the facts for why their manifesto should come out against HS2.  You can read our letter here:

The UK doesn’t need HS2

Now is the time to drop HS2 from political commitments.

Free from the EU bureaucrats’ love of a European rail transport network, and needing to focus on what would actually make the UK more competitive, it is time for political parties to rethink HS2.

HS2 is yesterday’s solution to transport needs and would be obsolete before it’s built:

  • Self-driving cars will revolutionise transport – giving shorter journey times – increasing the capacity of roads – and eliminating the advantages of rail
  • The business case for HS2 (founded on valuing journey time savings to the 2090’s) assumes a high value to reductions in business travel times but:
    • Involves pre-internet thinking, as business travel has actually reduced (people make fewer business trips and travel less far on business than they did 10 years ago)
    • Ignores the fact that people can work on trains – and will be able to work in self-driving cars!

HS2 has been sold on a false prospectus:

  • Far from benefiting the north, it will increase the grip of London on the economy, as it becomes practicable to save money by closing northern offices to the advantage of London ones (as London can more readily serve the whole country)
  • Britain has no high speed rail industry, and so HS2 will largely create foreign not UK jobs
  • The business case for HS2 assumes high train frequencies and high speeds that are incompatible with existing technology (with construction planned to start this year!)
  • HS2 does not address the most pressing issue on our railways: the 173,000 passengers that stand on commuter trains into major cities during the three hour peak each weekday morning
  • Far from catching up with the rest of the world, Britain has long had fast frequent inter-city rail services, and the distances between major cities are too small for high speed rail to be needed

Britain can’t afford to waste the tens of billions of £s that HS2 will cost:

  • Supporters claim that billions have already been spent and it is too late to turn back – but not an inch of track has been laid, with the money spent on consultants – and there is no excuse for throwing good money after bad
  • BREXIT is a time for improving Britain’s competitiveness – not spending it on white elephants!
  • With its real cost likely to top £100bn (according to some commentators), twice the official £56bn, HS2 is unaffordable
  • Proceeding with HS2 uses up funds far better spent on the NHS, schools, and broadband speeds.

The right decision for your manifesto is clear: cancel HS2

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