HS2 Community and Business Funds are ‘Not only a complete joke, but a bad one too.’

HS2 Ltd have announced two funds, amounting to a total of £30m for ‘community and business support’ along the route effected by Phase 1 of the HS2, which equates to just over £214,286 per mile of the proposed railway. The schemes would not be open for applications until after HS2 construction is due to start in 2017.

The press release from HS2 Ltd states:

 “The Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) will make up to £30 million available for residents and local communities between London and Birmingham to invest in public projects such as the refurbishment of local community centres, nature conservation and measures to support local economies and employment.”

Unbelievably, the press release goes on to say:

“The 2 funds are in addition to the extensive plans already in place to minimise the impacts of HS2’s construction and operation. These include the comprehensive package of compensation and assistance for property owners, which the government set out earlier this year, and the wide ranging measures that we will put in place to enable local people and businesses to obtain employment and contracts arising from construction and operation of the railway.”

And ignoring the pitiful amount of money being made available which is not a scratch against the economic and environmental damage caused by HS2, the press release tries to make on everyone will be happy with it, stating:

“Local authorities and environmental groups have spoken in favour of the establishment of a Community Fund, similar to the Countryside Initiative which was set up as part of constructing HS1.”

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:

“I would say that the funds announced today were a complete joke, if it weren’t for the fact they are a bad joke. Offering £30m to help businesses and the environment equates to about £200,000 per mile, which is miniscule compared to the damage done by HS2. On Tuesday, the HS2 Hybrid Bill Committee saw about a dozen ancient woodlands being hit by HS2, along with communities, major transport links and a site with over 1000 permanent employees. Properly helping out there in terms of the communities, the environment, and business and the local economy would easily eat up that £30 million in one hit, and that is just a couple of miles in rural Warwickshire.”

“For HS2 Ltd to say that they intend to minimise the impact of HS2 and they are providing comprehensive compensation is laughable. The reality is that these funds are a pathetic attempt at greenwashing this white elephant. By trying to claim HS2 Ltd are interested in the environment and local business and communities is simply a joke, and the amount of money they are offering only serves to prove that.”

Martin Tett, chairman of the 51m alliance against the plans said:

“To say that this is disappointing would be the understatement of the century.We wrote to the Prime Minister in August asking to work with the Government to pull together a locally administered Community and Benefit Fund which would make a real difference to the lives of those affected. HS2 ltd have been very slow to respond and this fund certainly wasn’t worth holding ones breath for!”

“According to the HS2 Cost and Risk Model Report, the Phase 1 cost estimate included ‘£775m for ‘contractor admin costs’ alone and there are around £5.7bn of contingency funds for phase 1. Surely mitigating the impact of this massive project on the towns, villages and communities affected is worth more than the costs of consultants’ admin?”

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11 comments on “HS2 Community and Business Funds are ‘Not only a complete joke, but a bad one too.’
  1. I keep firmly in my mind the forced withdrawal of the HS2 promotional video, the recent compensation “debate” with the Govt.’s ears firmly closed, the latest rubbish from Cameron as probably he hadn’t read the report, relying on advisers who “misadvised” him, the increasing cost of HS2 (at 2011 prices, what would they be now?). Overall, remember MPs representing maybe 0.0146% of the population saying what a good idea HS2 was, meanwhile at least 48% of the population say NO.

  2. If everyone is so concerned about the last and current Governments where are the civil servant and MPs going wrong.

    The Big Society may be interpreted in different ways but it has not been a public funded campaign to produce additional interests but mot hand in your pocket or someone else’s to fund essentials such as air ambulances and meal distribution.

    Where is the DFT not performing and has not performed. Well there are many areas where the motorways are now slow conveyors of wasted time and money for daily commuting.

    DFT more than HS2 are pretending about the contribution to movement in the UK from HS2 and its real daily usefulness. This is in the thousands not the millions.

    The joke is on the British people for a number of reasons but trying to be all things across the world and a soft touch at your expense has not worked. Vote for an MP to help your community not to help themselves or HS2 please.

    • Yes, you’re quite right!

      It’s more and wider MOTORWAYS we want-

      (and to blazes with the land required- far, far more than that required for a twin track ralway line…)

      • As has been pointed out MANY times before JW the alternative to HS2 is NOT more motorways but more investment in the existing rail infrastructure ,!

        • I imagine ,KNR.you mean such things as the rebuilding of Reading station,the electrification of the lines to Bristol and South Wales and down to Southampton from the Midlands, the redoubling of the North and South Cotswold lines, reopening the East-West route through Milton Keynes and the associated new Chiltern route from Oxford and connecting back to Aylesbury, the joining up and extending the fast services to the kent coast, using HS1, the opening of a new link at Ipswich so as speed freight from the East Coast ports,the reopening of a number of Scottish lines to passenger traffic and the rebuilding of part of the Waverly route to Edinburgh..
          Not to mention the lengthening of platforms on busy commuter stations to accommodate longer trains and Crossrail and Tube extentions planned and Light Rail extensions in Nottingham ,Birmingham and Wolverhampton …

          .There is much more to be done…
          What specifically would you suggest as priorities?

          However it remains the fact that those I’ve listed are just some among the projects that are currently under way or, in some cases ,have already been completed in the last year or so.

          I don’t believe they are “an alternative” to anything.

          • I’m sorry JW but I’m not clear what point you are making.

            If you are simply saying that there is a lot of work already being carried out on the network then I agree. From memory there is to be about £ 12 bn spent on network “enhancements” ( as opposed to renewals or maintenance ) over the next 5 years. I think I worked out that is slightly more than the last 5 years in absolute terms and slightly less in real terms.

            If however you are suggesting that what remains to be done is insignificant and unimportant(compared to HS2) in terms of service quality and capacity then I disagree completely.

            You asked me what my priorities would be. Well I’ll give you a few.

            1 ) Crack on with the electrification of the rest of the network, there remain vast sections of it that are not electrified. ( Although strategically you could argue that is risky since we have a looming electricity generation crisis — made worse by problems with the nuclear stations, the closure of Didcot A and now 50 % of Didcot B out of action indefinitely. If our miserable government really wanted to invest in infrastructure it should have paid more attention to this where there are the greatest problems).

            2 ) Extend Thameslink up the M1 from Luton to parkway stations at Milton Keynes and Northampton. 35 miles in total, probably costing something like £ 3 bn, but taking a big chunk of commuter traffic off the WCML. Remember we have been told it is commuter traffic on the WCML, rather than long distance traffic, which is why we are supposed to need HS2.

            3 ) If we have any spare cash ( and remember HS2 will cost something like £ 50 bn and our National Debt is currently going up at £ 100 bn a year — so basically we don’t ! ) I would suggest building new lines linking places that don’t have a direct connection ( or even a station at all ) rather than duplicating an existing service. An example might be Coventry – Leicester, 2 cities of 300,000 but where travellers must go via Birmingham – expect more of that sort of thing once HS2 is in place.

            4 ) A priority ( as well as longer platforms ) is more rolling stock. It is a nonsense that the Cross Country service from Coventry to Southampton usually only has 4 carriages , or that the Birmingham to Cardiff service often only has 2 carriages.

            Will that do for starters for you ?

            But really I was just taking issue with your continued assertion that we will have more motorways if we don’t have HS2. There is simply no evidence for that claim.

            We may or may not get more motorways in the next 20 years but having HS2 won’t change that. Don’t forget the “Economic Case” from a year a go marked down the proportion of HS2 travellers who had switched from their car to just 4 %.

            • Thankyou for your response,KNC.
              The point that I was trying to make was that all too often, the IMPRESSION is given that , because of all the attention -and cash- directed at HS2, then very little else was being done to develop the existing network and that the existing network is being starved of funds.
              *( for an example, look at the UKIP conference speech posted on this site!)*

              Yes I do agree with you that much more needs to be done.

              But a major problem is the shortage of trained staff, after the decades of decline and contraction. We are still playing catch up while at the same time trying to continue running services over congested routes. (HS2 is setting up a college to train staff to construct the new line)

  3. Why would anyone run away with the idea that HS2 would want to spend real money on communities affected by the project. Surely executive pay and consultant fees are far more important. Ask not what your government can do for you, but what you can shell out for your government.

  4. DEPLORABLE!

    Don’t they understand?
    Every penny they’ve spent is planned
    Prioritising their crazy scheme,
    Luxuriating their commercial dream.
    Oh how unfair it is that they
    Respond with such a pittance pay,
    Agents get the upper hand,
    Belittling those who’ll lose their land,
    Let’s all take a fairer view,
    End this wretched HS2!

  5. What a let down. The funding for community and business benefits is a drop in the ocean compared with the damage HS2 will wreak on communities.

    In Euston alone over 3,000 jobs to go or be relocated yet Alison Munro, in perhaps the only straight answer I have heard from her, said people facing the greatest negative impacts from NHS in Euston would be the recipients of just 3% of jobs created.

    The Drummond Street Asian Curry Quarter is famous for its range of delicious affordable cuisine. It is a destination for many visitors to London. Drummond Street will be separated from Euston construction by a ‘Berlin Wall’ with construction noise and pollution constant just yards away. Given that over 75% of trade is generated via Euston station and construction of such close proximity can only seriously degenerate the dining experience, just how can this wonderful quarter of our communities survive? It is a tragedy of enormous proportions for the traders concerned, the local communities and all those who have enjoyed the Drummond Street experience. No amount of compensation could replace what will be lost. And what compensation are traders being offered? Damages must amount to something in the region of multi-million pounds. They are entitled to a dirty big HS2 ZERO pounds. It is heartbreaking

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