ANDREA LEADSOM WRITES: At a feisty debate in Parliament last week there was universal agreement about the need to improve Britain’s transport infrastructure! But that’s where the consensus ends – and I for one am sick and tired of the debate on High Speed Rail being trivialised into a debate on Southern Nimbys versus the poverty stricken North.
The debate should be about how best to deliver badly needed infrastructure and ensure a re-balancing of our economy with a private sector led recovery across the UK. HS2 would cost each family in Britain more than £1,000, so it must be properly scrutinised to deliver not just extra capacity, but also the value for money that taxpayers are entitled to expect for their money.
I think HS2 is flawed in three main areas; the business case, the environmental case and the claims about job creation and the potential for regeneration. HS2 Ltd claims a net benefit ratio that includes the wider economic impacts of 2.0 – this means £2 of benefit for every £1 spent.
This is about the minimum return that could be expected from a rail project and far below the bar set for road projects. Even this modest claim makes enormous assumptions. Specifically, a core and ludicrous assumption is that all time on train journeys is wasted, and therefore that every minute of a train journey that is saved can be given a value in pounds.
This wouldn’t matter so much except that the journey time savings account for over 50% of the £20 billion of total economic benefit expected from the project!
Ms Leadsom continues....
.......... Supporters of HS2 should stop passing off opposition as NIMBYISM.
There are legitimate questions about value for money and many organisations are now questioning the business case including the TaxPayer’s Alliance, the Adam Smith Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, Friends of the Earth, the Sustainable Development Commission, rail experts and the Countryside Alliance.
We must have a robust debate on High Speed Rail.
By way of contrast MPs might like to consider this 'insightful' blog by Robin Lustig https://lustigletter.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/the-westminster-assassins.html
Also.....Ms Leadsom was closely associated with Barclays, has she seen this?
Jul 04, 2016 12:45 pm by michael
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