Lord Framlingham has today tabled a "fatal amendment" on the HS2 Bill before it goes for its Third Reading next week, as he seeks to block this thoroughly wasteful vanity project. This is another opportunity to stop the HS2 Bill in its tracks - and as such it serves to remember the significant flaws with HS2.
- HS2 comes with an enormous price tag. While the Public Accounts Committee put it at £50 billion, research shows it is likely to hit £90 billion.
- The business case for HS2 doesn't have a leg to stand on. The Public Accounts Committee has accused the Department of Transport of making decisions based "on fragile numbers, out-of-date data and assumptions which do not reflect real life" and economists have questioned almost every aspect of the Government's case. The TaxPayers' Alliance has also highlighted the flaws of the case put forward.
- The project has already been accused of mismanagement and waste. There have been reports of HS2 bosses splashing out on high-tech gadgets and going £87m over budget on consultants.
- There are fears that the technology used could be obsolete even before the first train leaves London for Birmingham, as newer technology becomes available.
- There are other projects - cheaper and more effective - which would far better cater for our infrastructure needs.
- Environmental and conservation groups oppose it - The Woodland Trust, for example, has outlined the potential damage it could do to the environment.
John O'Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, says:
"It's great that Parliamentarians have another chance to scrap this hugely wasteful vanity project. It is ludicrous that the Government is trying to impose this white elephant on taxpayers instead of looking to address our infrastructure needs through targeted, more effective and far less expensive projects.
"The case for HS2 has crumbled even before the trains start running and the Government should look again at this inordinately expensive project, especially as we prepare the UK economy to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by Brexit."