Public Rejects a New High Speed Rail Line as Best Method of Boosting the Economy

The British public does not think that building a new high speed rail line, such as the planned HS2 project, is the best method of boosting the UK economy.  In a new poll carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of HS2 Action Alliance just four per cent of the public selected building a new high speed line as the best infrastructure project to boost the UK economy.

A new high speed line trails far behind building more homes (40%); improving existing road infrastructure (20%), and improving existing rail infrastructure (14%).  Improving and extending high speed broadband is considered the best way to boost the economy by eight per cent of the public.  Increasing airport capacity is favoured by five percent of those surveyed, equal with those that replied ‘none of these’. Three per cent of respondents do not know which infrastructure projects would boost the economy.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Hilary Wharf, said; “We agree with what the Prime Minister said at the CBI today, the British economy needs boosting but costing a staggering £17 billion, Phase 1 of HS2 will support just 42,000 jobs and only 14,000 of these will be outside of the M25.  So we are not surprised that the public agree with us that HS2 is not the answer to boosting the economy.”

“David Cameron may not like the Government’s judgement being questioned but it was the threat of a Judicial Review that forced the reappraisal of the WCML franchise bid process and highlighted the systematic failings of the DfT.  This is the same department that is blindly trying to push through HS2 against the wishes of the majority of voters.  We look forward to the Government catching up with public opinion and shutting down this white elephant of a project and starting to address the capacity issues and economic regeneration with already identified cheaper and more effective approaches”
she added.

The poll results are used in a new HS2AA advertising campaign in Total Politics and the New Statesman.


Methodology HS2 Action Alliance commissioned Ipsos MORI to include the question on a face to face CAPI (computer assisted personal interviewing) omnibus survey. Interviews were conducted with respondents in their homes.

1,442 face-to-face Interviews were carried out between 21st September and 8th October 2012, quotas were set and the resultant data was weighted to ensure a representative sample.

Respondents were asked “The Government is trying to boost the economy and is considering major infrastructure investment.  Which one of these, if any, do you think is the best way of boosting the economy?”

Infrastructure Project % Level of Support
Build more homes 40%
Improve existing road infrastructure 20%
Improve existing rail infrastructure 14%
Improve and extend high speed broadband 8%
Increase airport capacity 5%
Build a new high speed rail line 4%
None of these 5%
Don’t know 3%


Notes to editors

HS2 Action Alliance is a national organisation making the powerful case against HS2. It is a not for profit organisation working with over 70 local groups, who all believe HS2 does not represent an effective answer to the UK’s transport, economic or environmental needs.

The results of the survey are also available on the Ipsos Mori website.

For more information please contact: Richard Houghton , Tel: 07803 178 037      Email: