Thursday, 14 September 2017

The HS2 rail project should be scrapped as it is a 'waste of money'

There are feelings that the money being spent on the HS2 project could be spent on improving infrastructure elsewhere:
Futures Forum: Campaign to urge rethink 'slamming the brakes on rail electrification'
Futures Forum: Gridlocked Devon >>> 'Devon Live' to debate "some of the major travel problems facing the county." >>> and to investigate "the attitude of local authorities to sustainable travel and highlight some of Devon's pollution hotspots"
Futures Forum: The SouthWest continues to get a bad deal for its railways

National Rail people say these feelings are unfounded:

Reconnecting the South West

09/09/2017 in RAIL Features

There have been calls for the money allocated to HS2 to be spent on diverting the railway across Dartmoor, but these calls are misinformed - the money comes from different pots. The money NR will spend on the wall comes from the maintenance and renewals funding, while the re-opening via Dartmoor would also come from a Control Period budget. HS2, by contrast, is funded separately.

Reconnecting the South West

However, earlier this week, the Mail reported on serious misgivings about the HS2 project from the former Chancellor:

HS2 should be scrapped as it is a 'waste of money' says former chancellor Alistair Darling

Ex Labour chancellor said HS2 as a waste of money which should be scrapped
Former top treasury official Lord Macpherson agreed it is a waste of cash
HS2 is UK's largest ever infrastructure project which could cost UK up to £100bn


PUBLISHED: 15:07, 11 September 2017 |

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling last night slammed HS2 as a 'waste of money' and said it should be scrapped.

The former Labour frontbencher said the billions being pumped into the scheme would be better spent elsewhere such as boosting Britain's northern railways. While Lord Macpherson - the most senior civil servant in the Treasury when George Osborne steered through the project - said he 'totally' agreed with the scathing assessment.

HS2 is Britain's most expensive ever infrastructure project and accounts reveal it has already cost taxpayers £2.3billion before a single piece of track has been laid. The project has sparked widespread criticism and protests from Britons whose homes face being knocked down and communities scarred by the route.

Labour's Alistair Darling says HS2 is a waste of money | Daily Mail Online

Meanwhile, there is trouble in Government ranks:
Tory MPs threaten to rebel over HS2 train proposals - Yorkshire Post

And another former Chancellor's motivations for pushing the HS2 project have been revealed:

A civil servant has revealed that HS2 was a political vanity project

Ross Clark 11 September 2017

Political history, as is perhaps inevitable, tends to be written by the politicians rather than civil servants, so it was refreshing to hear an interview including both Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor, and Nick Macpherson, former permanent secretary, on Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday night.

It was timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the run on the Northern Rock, but the most interesting revelation wasn’t about the financial crisis but about HS2. Macpherson spoke, needless to say, in impeccably Sir Humphrey-esque language but was no less deadly than that.’We’re far better at doing incremental stuff with the railways,’ he said, adding: ‘Frankly, doing stuff in Northern England is politically as well as economically imperative, rather than making it easier to come from Birmingham to London. HS2 was a political decision and I think it would be inappropriate for me to reveal the Treasury advice on the issue.’

A civil servant has revealed that HS2 was a political vanity project | Coffee House
“A civil servant has revealed that HS2 was a political vanity project” | East Devon Watch

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