HS1’s Economic Effects on Kent still unassessed

In a recent set of Transport questions, then Transport Minister Stephen Hammond admitted that the government had still not published an assessment of HS1 in Kent.  He was still felt able to confidently predict massive benefits from HS2 (although one wonders whether he was able to predict his tenure in the DfT was nearly over).

This contrasts with the view of Professor Roger Vickerman of the University of Kent Professor, who told a Transport Select Committee Inquiry:

Professor Vickerman: I think most of them are unsubstantiated claims. Obviously, if you feel that something is going to do good for you, you big it up. We saw that with HS1 in Kent as well, as to all the effects it was going to have. I have to say, they are not visible to the naked eye. Yes, of course, it is about creating a view whereby people are going to invest in an area because it is going to be better connected. There is something psychological about that which is very important, and so you will get that. The danger is that you finish up with everybody running after the same jobs, and there is a real concern about this. That is why we need to make sure, if there is a displacement of jobs going on, where those jobs are coming from. They are not all going to be net new jobs. Some of them are going to be displaced jobs. It is very important we look at the net jobs effect, but also at where those jobs are going to be. That becomes a strategic decision for the Government as to whether they are going to be prepared to lose jobs in

Parliamentary oral answers from 10th July 2014: High-speed Rail (Kent)

3. Charlie Elphicke (Dover) (Con): What assessment he has made of the economic effect of high-speed rail services to Kent. [904755]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): The Department for Transport is currently undertaking an economic evaluation of High Speed 1, covering transport user benefits, wider economic impacts, regeneration, and Government shareholdings and assets. That evaluation is planned to be completed this summer.

Charlie Elphicke: I thank the Minister for that answer, and I welcome the announcement of the full extension of HS1 to Deal, Walmer and Martin Mill in my constituency, and the benefits that that will bring to the local economy. Will he give an idea of the similar benefits that might be provided by HS2?

Stephen Hammond: It is only fair for me to recognise the extraordinary efforts of my hon. Friend in ensuring that high-speed rail comes to Deal. I also recognise the extraordinary efforts of my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd), who is making the same case. HS2 will make an important contribution to securing prosperity across the country. It will generate jobs and rebalance the economy, and our estimates suggest that there will be more than £70 billion of benefits, including £53 billion of benefits to business.

Mr Sheerman: That’s £80 billion of wasted taxpayers’ money.

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