The HS2 Growth Taskforce has found their way to Liverpool today.
The aim of the meeting appears to be in part to shore up dwindling support for HS2 in the north, and to try to persuade local people in the area that HS2 is a good idea. But from Liverpool’s point of view the case for HS2 fell away long ago.
Currently, trains from London to Liverpool are as fast as trains from London to Manchester. According to the 2010 economic case for HS2, which had included a HS2 station in Liverpool, London-Liverpool would have taken about a quarter of an hour longer than London-Manchester trains.
But when the Liverpool HS2 station was quietly dropped, London-Liverpool trains got even slower relative to Manchester, now taking nearly 28 minutes longer.
With proponents of HS2 arguing that time savings on trains matter enough to spend £50 billion on a new railway, it’s clear that using their logic shows Liverpool gets a raw deal from HS2.
What’s more, the HS2 Ltd press release also mentions last year’s KPMG report for HS2 Ltd on the regional economic impact of HS2: we criticised it at the time.
But the figures used by KPMG, released following a FOI request by a Stop HS2 supporter, show that Liverpool, as well as numerous other places around the country, could well lose out if HS2 is built. According to the secret figures, Liverpool could lose £50.19 million a year if HS2 gets built.
The taskforce press release claims to be trying to “to secure maximum boost for region’s economy”. The best way to do that would be to cancel HS2 as soon as possible.