In September, Philip Hammond told the Transport Select Committee in September that a factory worker from Manchester was unlikely ever to use HS2 – but that was OK because his boss would.
However those bosses – the leaders of British industry – don’t rate HS2 very highly.
A new survey from of Institute of Directors members, published today, shows that they are unsure of HS2.
Asked about their views on where rail investment should be targeted, 79% thought it should be aimed at existing intercity services, and nearly as many were in favour of spending on commuter rail. New high speed rail came bottom of the list, after tube/metro/tram.
Looking at HS2 in particular, 38% think that the public spending required to build HS2 would represent poor value for money, compared with 30% who think it would represent good value.
Only last week, the Transport Select Committee report into High Speed Rail showed that they had significant questions about the HS2 proposal. With so many organisations doubtful about HS2, surely now is the time for Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Transport, to cancel the project.
But if she won’t do that she should at the very least to call for a public inquiry into HS2.