Labour & Conservatives Mistakenly Remain Set On HS2

The day after a Conservative Home poll showed HS2 to be the least popular policy amongst their party members, Theresa May has rather unconvincingly justified the project, whilst the leaked Labour Manifesto contains a commitment to it.

Page 25 of the leaked draft Labour Manifesto says:

“A Labour government will complete the HS2 high speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, and then into Scotland, consulting with communities affected about the optimal route.”

“A Labour government will invest to regenerate the local and regional economies across the whole country, so that every area gets its fair share of transport investment. A Labour government will link HS2 with other new investments, such as Crossrail of the North.”

This argument is clearly schizophrenic, as ensuring every area gets its’ fair share of transport investment at the same time as blowing the entire DfT infrastructure budget on HS2 for decades seems impossible. The line that they will ‘consult local communities’ is clearly a sop to those Labour MPs in Yorkshire who have all of a sudden gone all nimby on the route changes, failing to see the pointlessness of the whole thing, and a commitment to get it to Scotland will send the cost of the project ever skyward.

At the same time that this document was being leaked, Theresa May was defending HS2 to an audience in Mansfield. We don’t know what the question was, but by the tone of the answer, it sounded very much like it went along the lines of “Why are you blowing so much on HS2 when the NHS and schools clearly need the money more?”

May answered (click for video):

“Government has to balance out what it’s doing. We are putting record levels of money into the NHS and record levels of funding in to schools, but we can only do that if we have a strong economy with businesses growing, creating the wealth that allows us to fund the NHS and schools.”

“In order to have that strong economy, we need to have the right infrastructure in place. Rail infrastructure is an important part of that and I think HS2 is important part in that. And of course HS2 is largely about increasing capacity on our rail system, so I think it is important, we are committed to it and it’s about an infrastructure that helps us to develop the economy that then enables us to provide a first class NHS and schooling.”

With this answer, it very much seemed that May had not got a grip on the HS2 brief as the justification seemed rather weak. It relies on the concept that HS2 will help develop the economy and provide tangible economic benefits beyond its’ costs, which is an exceptionally suspect concept, with it previous being stated by leading economists that the economic benefits of HS2 are “essentially made up”.  This of course before you start to look at the ongoing subsidy that HS2 will need, as the passenger forecasts are similarly made up.

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12 comments on “Labour & Conservatives Mistakenly Remain Set On HS2
  1. Pingback: STOP HS2 | So far in the manifestos…

  2. Let’s all have a big last push by all writing direct to Mrs May asking her to look and reconsider spending billions on hs2 if she wins

  3. Poor old ill-informed Theresa May, she just makes it up as she goes along. However, she may have been reading from the Grayling school which claimed “300,000 passengers per day (Yes per day!) of who 40% would be tourists! That would equate to over 50m. passengers p.a. If HS2 only costs £100bn. that would be amazing, what a triumph for progress.
    NO, the whole exercise remains risible, clearly Mrs. May hasn’t bothered to look at it, meanwhile the Armed Forces lack equipment and recruits,the rest of the Rail Network will be deprived of funds to pay for HS2 (that has already been admitted).
    I hope Mrs. May enjoys her ride on the rutted and potholed road to Chequers.

    • My mathematics are faulty and understate this nonsense.
      300,000 passengers per day equates to annualised 109.5m of whom 50.37m. are alleged to be tourists!
      Does Grayling think anyone listens to this rubbish, does he even care?

  4. `A Labour government will link HS2 with other new investments, such as Crossrail of the North.`

    So HS3 has been demoted to a `Crossrail` not a High-Speed line. Hopefully this gets great emphasis by Labour and is put before HS2, or the minimum of phase 2 of HS2, if they gain power. A Pennines `base` tunnel is needed and a new line to Liverpool to release capacity for freight from the new container terminal at the Port of Liverpool. This line is needed ASAP as the widened Panama Canal has just opened meaning ships of 13,000 containers can traverse the canal rather than 5,000.

    The longer HS2 is delayed and emphasis put on `HS3` contruction, the more likely the unneeded HS2 will be shelved.

    • Wow – an informed comment (which represents a break from the usual nonsense for this site)!

      Of course a “new” line (built to GC gauge standard?) linking Liverpool and Hull (via Manchester and Leeds) should be a priority for any UK administration interested in the future – the max speed design (250 km/h max?) for any trans-Pennines route is relatively unimportant but without HS2 (replete with integral north/south links to the trans-Pennines infrastructure) such significant public investment would be rendered ineffectual.

      Put simply It’s not a case of either/or – both are necessary

      • @Peter …

        “Wow – an informed comment (which represents a break from the usual nonsense for this site)!”

        You are under no obligation to read anything posted here, Peter, including my response.

        Given the number of occasions your comments appear under articles linked on this site’s news feed, you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time here despite your evident disdain for StopHS2.

        Some of what you say would be worth reading even though many would disagree with your stance.
        It’s a shame that you are so often unpleasant to people who do not share your views.

  5. How much will cost a train ticket on HS2?
    In a country were travelyn by train is a luxury I am sure the fiest tickets will cost 100 pounds?
    Can see some greedy ones involved rubbing their hands with lechery.

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