Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Economic benefit of HS2 downscaled in latest Government business case
THE Government was accused of launching “a desperate attempt to prop up a failing business case” by the leader of Buckinghamshire County Council today, as it was revealed the economic benefit to the country of HS2 would not be as great as previously predicted.
The Government’s latest business case for the controversial high speed rail project – it’s fifth so far – has lowered the expected benefit:cost ratio for the plan.
The projected wider economic benefit to the country for every pound spent has now fallen from £2.50 to £2.30.
This comes after the estimated cost of the project, which would see the train line from London to Birmingham cut through the Chilterns AONB, rocketed by nearly £10bn earlier this year to £42.6bn.
The recalculation also came about after the estimated amount of work people could do on trains – using laptops, for example - was also scaled up, meaning less travel time would be wasted than previously thought.
Cllr Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council and Chairman of the 51m Alliance of local authorities opposed to HS2, said: “ When you strip away the ‘fluff and exaggerations’ we estimate that HS2 will lose 50p for every pound of taxpayers’ money invested in it.
“The real question is why is the Department for Transport persisting with this enormously expensive project when there are so many, far better infrastructure projects that could be done now, bringing jobs and growth across the whole country when we really need it?”
51 m recently published its own Alternative Investment Strategy proposing investment in key schemes such as increasing commuter capacity into major cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London.
It also proposed investment in local road and public transport across the entire country and the devolution to local communities of major funding to promote local business, jobs and internet connectivity.
Cllr Tett added: “It’s time for the Department for Transport to admit that HS2 is a vanity project and that the money could be spent far better on infrastructure elsewhere.”
The Government says HS2 is vital to the economic future of the country, and would help bridge the north/ south divide.
The project would also boost much-needed capacity as the ail networks become increasingly overcrowded, supporters say.
But cross party support for the project has become shaky, with Labour suggesting the party would look into the viability of the project again if it came to power at the next election, citing concerns over the spiralling budget.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today said he still hoped the project could be brought in under budget.
Details of 51M’s alternative scheme can be found by clicking here.
Comments are closed on this article.