AXE HS2: A VAN­ITY SCHEME

Busi­ness case for ex­pen­sive project has ‘fallen apart’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Camil­la_Good­man

HS2 is an ex­pen­sive van­ity project which must be scrapped, says the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance

A new re­port from the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance, pub­lished on Fri­day, calls on the gov­ern­ment to scrap the ‘waste­ful’ HS2 project.

The or­gan­i­sa­tions says the busi­ness case for HS2 has ‘fallen apart’ and the scheme is al­ready pro­jected to be mas­sively over its orig­i­nal bud­get.

It added that it is un­likely to be com­pleted on sched­ule and there is a sig­nif­i­cant chance that fu­ture tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments, such as driver­less cars, will make it an ob­so­lete tech­nol­ogy years be­fore the first train sets off for Birmingham. The key find­ings of the re­search are: Pro­jected costs are ris­ing and are likely to be al­most £90bil­lion The busi­ness case is flawed and hugely over­states the case for HS2 De­mand for travel on HS2 is un­cer­tain Timely de­liv­ery of the project is very un­likely Other pro­pos­als would pro­vide greater value for money than HS2’s Phase One HS2 is un­likely to help de­velop the economy of North Eng­land to the ex­tent that has been sug­gested The need for in­creased travel ca­pac­ity could well be met by new tech­nolo­gies. The Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance added that turn­ing Birmingham into an out­post of Lon­don is a ‘bad idea.’

With a new Prime Min­is­ter in of­fice, the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance is call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to scrap HS2 and fo­cus on other in­fra­struc­ture projects across the UK with much bet­ter ben­e­fit/cost ra­tios.

It added that seiz­ing the op­por­tu­nity now will help drive growth and boost pro­duc­tiv­ity in other re­gions of the UK out­side Lon­don.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance Jonathan Is­aby said: “HS2 is a waste­ful van­ity project which is un­likely to be com­pleted on sched­ule and will cost tax­pay­ers a for­tune. The new Prime Min­is­ter should now be pur­su­ing bold and imag­i­na­tive poli­cies to boost eco­nomic growth and in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity – and that pos­i­tive ap­proach must in­clude scrap­ping HS2, which has cost tax­pay­ers far too much al­ready.

“Min­is­ters should in­stead be em­bark­ing on more worth­while in­fra­struc­ture projects that will cost less and de­liver far bet­ter value.”

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