Why are the Government taxing the poor to pay for a rich man's train?

June 21, 2011 8:24 AM

The Government's planned high speed rail line will benefit a fortunate minority of passengers but cost well over £1,000 for every family in Britain.  Why are ordinary families doing their shopping and paying higher VAT; motorists paying a fortune at the pump; and commuters who will get a worse service, all set to pay such a huge price for this huge white elephant?

You can watch the three adverts, here:



The adverts follow a programme of research from the TPA looking at the problems with the business case for the new high speed rail line and identifying the many towns that will lose out and get worse train services if HS2 goes ahead:

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Families will wonder why, with so much pressure on everyone’s finances, the Government are taxing the poor to pay for a rich man’s train. High speed rail is an incredibly expensive white elephant. It is the wrong project, particularly when the priority should be keeping down the cost to taxpayers and simpler improvements that can cut overcrowding for commuters, not a prohibitively expensive new high speed line. They need to reconsider their plans and look at more affordable ways of improving the rail network."


We've also today reacted to the release of an independent report on the Goverment's HS2 high-speed-rail project. The report, by Oxera, can be found here.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Oxera’s report this morning confirms that the Government haven’t fairly compared their high speed rail plans to other more affordable options. They also point out there is little evidence for claims about the economic benefits of faster trains, and that rigorous assessments have suggested those benefits can be ‘very small indeed’. Hopefully this report will encourage serious scrutiny from Parliament, before billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is committed to high speed rail. The Government should look again at other ways to deliver the capacity the rail network needs, without risking so much money on what could turn out to be a huge white elephant. They shouldn’t be taxing the poor to pay for a rich man’s train, particularly on the basis of such an uncertain economic case."

The Government's planned high speed rail line will benefit a fortunate minority of passengers but cost well over £1,000 for every family in Britain.  Why are ordinary families doing their shopping and paying higher VAT; motorists paying a fortune at the pump; and commuters who will get a worse service, all set to pay such a huge price for this huge white elephant?

You can watch the three adverts, here:



The adverts follow a programme of research from the TPA looking at the problems with the business case for the new high speed rail line and identifying the many towns that will lose out and get worse train services if HS2 goes ahead:

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Families will wonder why, with so much pressure on everyone’s finances, the Government are taxing the poor to pay for a rich man’s train. High speed rail is an incredibly expensive white elephant. It is the wrong project, particularly when the priority should be keeping down the cost to taxpayers and simpler improvements that can cut overcrowding for commuters, not a prohibitively expensive new high speed line. They need to reconsider their plans and look at more affordable ways of improving the rail network."


We've also today reacted to the release of an independent report on the Goverment's HS2 high-speed-rail project. The report, by Oxera, can be found here.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"Oxera’s report this morning confirms that the Government haven’t fairly compared their high speed rail plans to other more affordable options. They also point out there is little evidence for claims about the economic benefits of faster trains, and that rigorous assessments have suggested those benefits can be ‘very small indeed’. Hopefully this report will encourage serious scrutiny from Parliament, before billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is committed to high speed rail. The Government should look again at other ways to deliver the capacity the rail network needs, without risking so much money on what could turn out to be a huge white elephant. They shouldn’t be taxing the poor to pay for a rich man’s train, particularly on the basis of such an uncertain economic case."

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