Thursday, 12 April 2012

Not looking good for HS2's economic case is it?


The grand vanity project that is High Speed 2 - a fancy train set rushing the wealthy of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester away to London so much faster - is fast losing any limited investment credibility:

The Department for Transport has revised down its estimates of the economic benefits of the proposed High Speed 2 rail line to just £1.20 for every pound invested.

And that's with all the speculative nonsense that goes into economic return estimates for these sort of infrastructure schemes. In truth the project - even the slightly more viable  London-Birmingham bit - will be as loss-making as the Humber Bridge and the Channel Tunnel.

And we should expect further quiet downgrading of the returns:

The revision downwards is the fourth made by the government since its original estimate in March 2010 of £2.40 for every pound invested. The latest revision comes after an adjustment to an estimate published in January, which had calculated the benefits to be £1.40 for every pound invested. 

Of course the government - and the fans of HS2 - tell us that there are other benefits that "reach well beyond transport economics." Absolutely, it'll be a shiny train set that they can show off about. That's why we're doing it - it has little transport benefit and no economic benefit.

But that's fine because a bunch of people who won't be using the line support it:

Other documents released by the government today showed that a majority of those living in the most deprived areas within nine miles of the proposed London to West Midlands HS2 route support the project. 

Now that's a very specific survey there - or rather a very carefully selected group. It's not that people support the scheme or that people within nine miles of the route support the scheme, it's that the "most deprived" places within that second group support the scheme!

Does this not seem like a bit of a mistake yet?


1 comment:

andy5759 said...

Now we have said we will build it after having been told to by the EU there can be no reneging on our promise to the Brussels bingers.