HS2 plans are ‘half as good as they were’

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HS2 will barely break even, according to campaigners who have been studying new figures from the Department for Transport.

The latest cost-benefits research shows that the expected return of £2.40 for every £1 spent has now fallen to a return of just £1.20.

In response the 51m group of 19 councils which oppose the high speed line have called on the government to drop the plans.

Martin Tett, the leader of Bucks County Council and chairman of 51m, said: “Every time it has been reviewed, the value for hard-earned taxpayers’ money has fallen and fallen. Normally the Department for Transport wouldn’t look at any business case with a return of less than two. But here we have a project that barely breaks even and in reality will almost certainly lose an enormous amount of money.”

Mike Fox, chairman of the Chilterns Conservation Board, said: “Not only will it cause immense damage to the environment, even the government now accepts that HS2 is an economic basket case.”

Stop HS2 campaign spokesman Joe Rukin said: “The economic case is founded on the fact that everyone on HS2 will earn £70,000 per annum, that no-one at all works on trains and that people faced with a shorter journey time won’t simply spend longer in bed. It is simply irresponsible to proceed with HS2.”