Q 48823: Grant Shapps (Conservative, Welwyn Hatfield) on 17th October 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much private funding has been secured for the High Speed 2 project from major corporate beneficiaries to date.
A Answered by Andrew Jones Answered on: 25 October 2016
No private funding contributions have been secured for HS2 to date.
This written answer was given on Tuesday, the same day as the major announcement from the Department for Transport that a third runway Heathrow airport was given the go ahead. And the finances are also in clear contrast. The official announcement was clear on who was paying for the new airport costs: “Expansion costs will be paid for by the private sector, not by the taxpayer.”
One might argue that airports costs are inherently different to railways, but the funding of HS2 also stands in contrast to the funding of both Crossrail and HS1.
Crossrail says that “Over 60% of Crossrail’s funding will come from Londoners and London businesses”, also adding that “Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd has agreed to a £70 million funding package.”
(In 2014 Crossrail had a funding envelope of £14.8bn.)
HS1 is even more starkly in contrast – the original Channel Tunnel Act 1987 had a subsection entitled “No government funds or guarantees for the tunnel system”, and allowed for “any person who has suffered, or may suffer, loss in consequence of it may bring an action against the Minister or department concerned” if they had allowed government funds to be used. While the actuality turned out differently, the desire was there that the government shouldn’t pay for it.
Instead, HS2 is entirely funded by the taxpayer, with the High Speed Rail Preparation Act allowing unlimited spending – and even the current CEO of HS2 simultaneously being a director of the lead contractors on one of the HS2 contracts.