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HS2 update: Treasury Committee calls for review of the economic case


The Treasury Select Committee has stated that the economic case for HS2 must be reassessed and updated before the Treasury signs off on the project. In its Latest Spending Round 2013 review the Committee said that, given the recent report by KPMG and published by HS2 Ltd setting out the regional economic impacts, the Treasury must produce its own economic case for HS2. The Committee wrote: The Treasury should not allow HS2 to proceed until it is sure the cost-benefit analysis for […]

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New report: HS2 alternatives from the 51m Alliance


The 51m Alliance of nineteen local authorities opposed to HS2 (including Bucks County Council) have recently launched their ‘Alternative Investment Strategy’. It challenges the current DfT rationale of ‘capacity’ being the main reason for HS2 and proposes a comprehensive package of national investment in infrastructure to rebalance the nation’s economy. In its executive summary, 51M Alliance said: The local authorities in 51m are fully committed to investing in key infrastructure critical for the country’s future success. 51m has already set out […]

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HS2: Update


I have continuously campaigned against a second state-funded high speed rail programme. It is slowly transpiring that the business case is collapsing. The benefit cost ratio (BCR) for phase 1 has fallen from 2.4 in March 2010 to just 1.2 today and 1.4 for the whole of the Y spur extension. A fifth downgrade is expected to be released in the summer incorporating the new, lower GDP figures. How low do the figures need to go until policy makers understand […]

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Justine Greening must review HS2 in the public interest


I’m grateful to StopHS2 for drawing my attention to this video of the Public Accounts Committee hearing at which it was revealed HS2 has a Cabinet Office Major Projects Authority status of red/amber: As The Guardian reported: The latest figures issued by the HS2 high-speed rail scheme have revised down the economic benefits for the fourth time – suggesting the scheme will barely, if ever, break even. Originally the scheme was forecast to bring £2.40 of benefit for every pound […]

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HS2 consultants’ services have already cost over £25 million


Last month, I put down a written Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking for the remit and cost of the consultants involved in the High Speed Two project. You can read my question and the answer in Hansard here and the text is below. As you can see, these costs have already run to over £25 million… Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which consultants are being or have been used on the High […]

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Criticising HS2 via the FT


Via High-speed rail link must be built, economists insist – FT.com: Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe, said he was unconvinced that the huge cost of the scheme was justified. “The maths doesn’t add up; this is just sinking capital into a lossmaking project. If you’re going to use the power of the state to do that, then you shouldn’t be surprised that this country is getting poorer.” I’m grateful to Guido Fawkes for making this his quote of the day.

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Voters turn against HS2


Via AGAHST: Nearly two thirds of population opposed to money being spent on HS2 A YouGov public opinion poll has found that nearly two thirds of the public oppose money being spent on the planned £32 billion high speed rail link between London and Birmingham (HS2). 64 per cent of those surveyed in the poll (commissioned by groups opposed to HS2) believe that it is wrong to spend money on the proposed line at this time. In June this year […]

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Transport Committee report on HS2 released


The Transport Committee’s report into High Speed Rail was released today. You can find it here. I voted against the report. In my view, it is too supportive of the present proposals. In committee, a number of us brought forward and voted for amendments which would have softened the report substantially. Some of these were defeated by just one vote. Full details can be found in the formal minutes at the end of the first volume. I remain concerned that […]

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Transport Committee to publish High Speed Rail report


Via Transport Committee to publish High Speed Rail report: The Committee has agreed to publish its Tenth Report of Session 2010–12, High Speed Rail (HC 1185-I), at 00.01 am on Tuesday 8 November. Embargoed advance PDF copies of the Report will be emailed on Monday 7 November at 8.00 am to all those who gave oral evidence. Media representatives wishing to receive embargoed PDF copies of the document should contact Hannah Pearce: pearcehm@parliament.uk. The Report will be available on The […]

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The Infrastructure Delusion | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty


Infrastructure does not an economy make. Highways and railroads, airports and seaports, communications towers and fiber optics cables are essential for the flow of commerce, but it is the people, goods, and information moving over and through this infrastructure that are the heart of an economy. Overinvestment in roads, bridges, and airports means underinvestment in the productive base that is an economy’s life blood.  Government spending means more than just an outlay of dollars; it means consuming scarce resources that […]

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