The much heralded report into cost savings for HS2 by new CEO David Higgins, has failed to save any taxpayer’s money and is a cynical attempt to hide the fact that the costs have already gone up. The report has instead reduced connectivity, by dropping the link to HS1, but will include an HS2 station at Crewe, which many people have been conned into believing was already there.
Joe Rukin, Campaign Manager for Stop HS2 said
“David Higgins has spent three months looking for cost savings for HS2 and he hasn’t found a single bean. Any pretense that the costs of HS2 are under control are a fraudulent attempt to con the public.
“In fact all he has done is take off the link to Europe but the costs have stayed same. Claims that HS2 needs to be built fast to avoid inflation are complete rubbish because they are ignoring inflation to use 2011 prices. The official estimate of £50.1 billion was always too low, and represents the cost if the whole project was built in one year and that year was 2011. If you use Treasury guidelines for GDP growth and inflation, you’d have to increase it by 27.7%, putting the cost of HS2 at £64billion.
“We know that these costs will continue to escalate. The only answer is to cancel the project and go back to the drawing board right now”
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said
“Every attempt to find cost savings in HS2 has either resulted in upping the budget for the project, or dropping major parts of the project. Last year the Heathrow link was paused. This year Higgins, the man who left out kitchens of the athletes’ apartments for the Olympics, is leaving HS2 without a connection to Europe by dropping the link between HS1 and HS2.
“Higgins wants to speed HS2 through Parliament. But even councils who support HS2 want to petition to the Parliamentary committees because they see real practical problems in HS2’s plans. For the last four years HS2 Ltd been ignoring individuals and communities that are directly affected on the grounds they will get heard in Parliament by the Hybrid Bill committees of MPs and Lords. Cross party agreement can’t make this part of the process faster, or cheaper, trying to race it through will just paper over the immense cracks in the scheme.
“Whatever Higgins says in his report about building a Crewe station earlier, he can’t get around the fact that the Phase 1 hybrid bill currently before Parliament does not include the tracks up to Crewe. He might be able to build a shiny new station there, but it won’t have high speed tracks going to it.”
“Higgins has left in the £10 billion extra contingency that was added to the HS2 budget last year. He must know where it’s been spent already and that there is no spare cash in the project. Politicians are saying that they can’t increase the costs of HS2, but the budget is already spiralling out of control. HS2 should be cancelled immediately, so the country can look at the real transport needs of the country.”