Mar 2011 03

High speed rail is a...

In recent weeks we’ve been doing a lot of work exposing the flaws in the Government’s case for HS2.

First we released a report looking at the business case for the new line.  Written by Chris Stokes – a senior rail executive – it set out a range of problems including unrealistic demand projections; dodgy assumptions about how people use their time on the train; overblown claims about regeneration benefits; and much more.  Today I’ve written an article for the Spectator Coffee House which updates that case a little, following the release of the Government’s new consultation document, though not a lot has changed.

Following the release of the research note, Chris Stokes and Bruce Weston – from the HS2 Action Alliance – conducted an extended debate with the pro-HS2 lobby group Greengauge 21.  Most recently, Charlotte posted responses from those two experts to Greengauge 21 claims of other benefits and a summary of the debate over whether or not HS2 is the best way of providing necessary capacity, or if there are more affordable options.

This week we released a press release responding to the new consultation document, and pointing out the staggering cost of the scheme – over £1,000 per family.  We then looked at the Government’s claims HS2 would create 40,000 jobs and found that it was a poor return on such a massive £17 billion investment (just for the first leg from London to Birmingham), there would be an opportunity cost of four jobs for every one created, even if their figures stack up.

Take a read, and see what you think.  Then if you want to make your views known you can submit to the Department for Transport consultation here.  There are seven questions so it shouldn’t take too long.  Hopefully the Government are listening, and it is important that we register opposition to this scheme, even though their incredibly biased presentation of the evidence before each question doesn’t bode well.

Matthew was the Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, author of Let Them Eat Carbon and editor of How to Cut Public Spending (and still win an election)



  • Anonymous

    Questionnaire completed. What an awful thing it is. My suggestion is to answer no to everything.

  • Anonymous

    Questionnaire completed. What an awful thing it is. My suggestion is to answer no to everything.