‘Disgraceful Spin’ as HS2 Compensation Consultation concludes “Let’s have another consultation.”

The Government has decided to bury bad news today, announcing a new proposal for HS2 compensation on the same day as the HS2 Environmental Statement consultation analysis showed that more people left the form blank than supported HS2.

While the spin on compensation is that ‘new schemes’ are available, the Government has chosen today to re-announce schemes such as express purchase (a variation of compulsory purchase which came in when the route was safeguarded) and exceptional hardship which are already in operation, along with sale and rent back.

There will be a further consultation on other potential schemes which will be the sixth consultation on HS2 compensation since the scheme was announced in 2010. These proposed schemes, which would not be available in London, are: a Voluntary Purchase Scheme where people living between 60m and 120m from the line can apply for their house to be bought; a Cash Payment of 10% of the value of your home if you do not want to move (from £30k to £100k) for people living between 60m and 120m from the line; a Homeowner Payment which would entitle owner-occupiers to a cash payment if they live between 120 metres and 300 metres from the line in rural areas from £7,500 to £22,500, depending on how close the route is to the property.

Additionally, the existing Exceptional Hardship Scheme will be rebranded as the ‘Need to Sell’ Scheme for all areas, with the same criteria being employed that has seen only 26% of applicants being paid out so far on Phase 1 (141 out of 536).

The greatest bit of spin is that the Government intend to draw up a ‘Residents’ Charter’ with the  appointment of an ‘Independent Residents Commissioner’, who will report directly to Chair of HS2 Ltd Sir David Higgins, and produce reports for HS2 Ltd. Commenting on this, Higgins said:

“Fairness, transparency and efficiency have to be at the heart of everything we do. People rightly want to know what they’re entitled to and how quickly we will deal with their claims. The new Charter and Commissioner will provide residents with the confidence that we’ll deal with each case clearly, fairly and as fast as we can.”

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:

“Trying to bury the bad news which saw more people accidentally send their form in blank than say they supported HS2 in the latest consultation, Government have tried to spin a new compensation deal, by re-announcing schemes already in place and saying there will be a sixth consultation on more discretionary proposals, after only 26% of those who have currently applied under the EHS scheme have been paid out in four years. They even have the gall to say someone who will report directly to HS2 Ltd will be called an ‘Independent Residents Commissioner’. This is disgraceful spin. No-one has any faith in what the Government is saying, and there is only one proposal which should ever be considered for compensation, compensating everyone for the full value of their loss, no matter where they live, and these proposals miss thousands of people facing blight. If the Government cannot afford to compensate people fully, they cannot afford HS2.”

“If the Government were serious about their compensation proposals, they would be contained within the Hybrid Bill and not a discretionary scheme which could be turned off at any time. To announce this scheme just before the HS2 Hybrid Bill, but saying there will be another consultation, which will be the sixth one on HS2 compensation is just a cynical ploy to try and buy off opponents, and it will not work.”

Penny Gaines, Chair of Stop HS2 said:

“HS2 Ltd now say they are going to appoint an independent Residents Commissioner which will report to the HS2 Ltd board.  Unfortunately for the people affected, HS2 Ltd have persistently ignored and failed to address the many issues which have been raised at Community Forums, roadshows and on other occasions.  A commissioner reporting to the HS2 board provides no reassurance whatsoever, because it is HS2 Ltd who have themselves been ignoring the many legitimate concerns of affected residents.”

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7 comments to “‘Disgraceful Spin’ as HS2 Compensation Consultation concludes “Let’s have another consultation.””
  1. Is it to late to stop hs2 happening if it is not what else can be done ? With so many MPs for. It is there any thing else we can do to stop this total waist of 50 plus billion .with labours leader telling the new chairman they will be for the project then it seems a done deal for us all and no way out please comment if you no a good idea we can take forward

  2. Pingback: Leeds Council leaders welcome proposed HS2 compensation package - The Leeds Guardian

  3. With the polls saying the Tories will loose the general election the only thing they have left to show they were ever in government will be there flag. Ship hs2 .No wonder they will say and do every thing they can do to save it .lie cheat hold documents back in fact even to stop there own MPs knowing the truth of there pet project they should all hold there heads in shame

  4. Read the Golders ES consultation report yesterday.
    Paradox that the ES all 50,000 pages of was so complex and stuffed full of unverified and unverifiable facts and figures, projections etc. The public and significant national bodies rose to the challenge and responded.

    Golders report was in the context ridiculous and unfit for purpose. A mere rudimentary ‘tally’ of tick boxes imposed upon the data, lacking intellectual and scientific value.
    It is a shame that the public were not forewarned as to how this consultation would be appraised.
    I am sure that the information that has been carefully submitted could be subject to considerable scientific interrogation and due and proper analysis.
    Golders stated that they were leaders in the field of environmental consultation. If this is an example of best or even good practice then heaven help us!
    The devil is in the detail, current report appears to have been dictated by the wishes of HS2 ltd in terms of its scope.
    The information is now available and as a database.
    Perhaps the public needs to request of Parliament that this database is taken from Golders and handed over to an independent, creditable, academic rather than marketing/commercial body for due and proper analysis.
    Did the members of the Houses and Environmental Committee have any say as to how this consultation should occur or is this an example of pre-digested feeding of democracy by the quango HS2 ltd?
    The Supreme Court was clear that Parliament has a prescribed role and also a responsibility to the Nation and that on this basis democratic objection and legal challenge was
    legally proscribed until due process occurred.
    I am troubled if the members of Parliament accept this report on the consultation and waste the resource.
    As an example of the ‘ethical’ ‘constitutional process’ that the Supreme Court cited(in terms of fair,representational democratic process, the power of free choice in politics that the Public should have faith in) we have the Miller-Fabricant paradox.
    The coalition have thrown out all their voices of checks and measures and have become as a Platonic Ship of Fools.
    Idealogical censorship, press freedom and the rights of protest have all been eroded to favour greater central political control and suppression.
    We are invited, no it is indeed demanded by the organs of
    establishment to trust them with our country, lives and future
    and the bulk of the population have been returned to post post-modern voiceless serfdom with ‘benefits’ by consultative processes such as Golders report that essentially ‘silence’ or retranslate the voices by data manipulation and canny translation. Let us hope Parliament does not accept the Golders dictionary of translation of the public voice. Too much was lost in translation (an analogy would be having faith and perceiving artistic value in a 150 word complete Shakespeare the first 50 words being a paen of praise for the translator)

  5. Two misjudged decisions in one day the PM needs to get his act together on the hs2 com pension now he as had long enough and one to many consult ions if not he should be kicked out of office along with all the other toffs .who fiddle a quick 50k on expenses no wonder they have not the money to do hs2 properly

  6. I kept on reading it through and kept thinking”where’s the difference from what I have heard before. My property is blighted and there is nothing in their proposals for people like me. Some time ago Giselle Stewart said on TV that there should be fair and proper compensation .This is not fair or proper. HS 2 should be cancelled. It can only be afforded by cheating thousands of us out of our hard earned cash. Mr .Cameron are you listening.?

    • Don’t worry the government is going to have a fresh consultation how many do they need when 99% want and said a property bond is what is needed how dare the transport minster say it will confuse things these men are living on another planet that must be the only reason I can think of unless he is as thick as a loaf of bread

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