JUST four per cent of respondents to a major survey felt building HS2 is the best way of boosting the British economy.

Figures released by leading research firm Ipsos Mori reveal ten times more people believe building new houses is the best way of investing in infrastructure.

Building the planned high speed railway line - which is proposed to cut through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - was the second least popular option chosen by those surveyed. The least chosen option in the survey was the answer 'Don't know', which was chosen by three per cent of people.

Other options chosen above building HS2 included investment in broadband, improving existing road and rail infrastructure and increasing airport capacity.

Improving roads was the second most popular choice, with 20 per cent of respondents picking it as their preferred option.

A total of 1,442 people across Britain were surveyed, of whom 289 lived in the south east and a further 186 in London. The question they were asked by researchers was: "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?"

The research was commissioned by Bucks-based campaign group, the HS2 Action Alliance.

Hilary Wharf, from the group, said: "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. 

"It really is getting beyond a joke that the Government continues to spend millions of pounds a month pursuing a highly unpopular and utterly flawed project when for much less the capacity issues and economic regeneration could be more effectively addressed."