Jan 2013 28

Responding to the announcement, Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said :

 ”The Government is deluding itself if it thinks spending vast sums of taxpayers’ money on this white elephant is a substitute for a genuine plan for growth. The HS2 business case just isn’t credible and ministers aren’t being honest about the hidden costs or flawed projections that the project  is based on. This is a rich man’s train line which every family in Britain is paying a fortune for. It beggars belief that after the West Coast Main Line debacle  and the repeated exposures of the fundamental flaws in HS2, the Prime Minister hasn’t reconsidered  the project. The Government must look to strategic alternatives that could deliver greater capacity more quickly and without the enormous bill.”

The key findings of previous our research into HS2 are:

  • HS2 will be enormously expensive, costing well over £1,000 per family, but only a fortunate minority will benefit
  • This is a railway for the rich but paid for by everyone. HS2 assumes average business passenger income of £70,000 and relies on a 27 per cent over inflation rise in fares (source: High speed rail)
  • Under those plans, cities like Coventry and Stoke on Trent will see a worse service and there will be a number of other capacity problems (source: HS2 capacity analysis)
  • The current business case relies upon fares rising by 27 per cent above inflation
  • Ministers have pledged to address some of those problems, but their pledges and other schemes needed to make HS2 work as advertised could see the cost to taxpayers rise from £17.1 billion to £45.5 billion (source: The hidden costs of HS2) We have challenged the Government to set out the true cost of the scheme or be more honest about some of the consequences of HS2
  • The public are not in favour of HS2.  A YouGov poll on spending cuts commissioned by the TPA found that 48 per cent of respondents supported cancelling the project with only 34 per cent opposed to such a move (source: Spending poll 2011)
  • Business leaders are also sceptical. The TPA organised an open letter from business leaders and economic commentators including Simon Wolfson andNigel Lawson attacking the scheme as a “vanity project” and a “white elephant” (source: Letter).  And 38 per cent of members of the Institute of Directorsbelieve that the public spending required to build the new line would represent poor value for money, compared with only 30 per cent who think it would represent good value (Source: IoD member survey)
  • Other campaign groups including the Countryside Alliance, the RAC Foundation and the Green Party are also sceptical and the TPA organised a briefing where they made the case against the new line (source: Briefing video)

Britain's independent grassroots campaign for lower taxes

  • blarg1987

    Considering we are probabaly the only major economy in europe not to have high speed rail perhaps it is better now or what would be a better alternative?

    These things are going to be very costly as any major infastructure scheme is bound to be but if mangaed and done carefully costs can be reduced through the following I feel:

    1 – If the first sections of the line are between the closet cities to bring in revenue then do the long section to London last.

    2 – If contracts are tendered to include as much local labour as possible but to also rule out the cheapest bid althought the TPA would have to change its policy as the cheapest bid would be overseas (goodbye UK tax payers money) at least with a UK based company and contract we are likely to get large amounts of money back throuhg local spending and companies).

    So if the line is approved and the TPA scrutinise it will they look at maximum return for UK tax payers or cheapest price to the tax payer but at the expsense of the money leaving the UK forever?

    • Dana Green

      IF the contracts and only IF include local labour you MAY have a point. However EU regulations override that as seen in other recent tenders and this is an EU project anyway.

      • blarg1987

        It is how you apply the EU regulations i.e any company can bid to do the work but you can say the factory manufacturing the trains and rails must be located in the UK etc just the same as many other EU countries have done with tenders and contracts the difference is we are so focused on chepest price as was the admission by several MP’s with the last rail contract when they said we are looking at best value for moneey for tax payers.

  • David

    Why on earth are we trying to improve communications North of Watford. Our future is with Europe . We need better communications to mainland Europe (a second channel tunnel for instance)

    • Rail Engineer


  • Colin L

    except that most families pay nothing in tax so it,ll be others that pick up the tab for this useless project which is planned to arrive at the wrong London terminus anyway -

  • John Poynton

    David Cameron seems to be justifying HS2 on the grounds that it will bring a better balance between North and South in the economy. Quite why he thinks this is unclear, given that we have seen hundreds of such infrastructure white elephants over the decades and yet the North South divide is as great as ever.

    In any event, how does HS2 benefit the good burgers of Western Cornwall, South Wales or Northern Ireland?

    The only effective way to balance demand in the economy to act on demand, perhaps by introducing a second personal allowance for income tax based on local levels of unemployment post code by post code across the country. By leaving more of taxpayers’ own money in their own pockets, particularly at the bottom end of the income range where it is most likely to be spent on UK goods and services rather than saved or spent on foreign holidays, he can induce an organic local increase in consumer demand. Most of the money spent on infrastructure projects by contrast will simply end up in corporate bank accounts.

    Somebody should educate the PM in basic economics.