Just how low is the HS2 BCR?

Previously published on the 51M website:

The business case for HS2, already poor, has become far, far worse. The published ‘Benefit Cost Ratio’ for the London to Birmingham section has declined from a predicted 2.7 return for every pound spent in March 2010, to 1.7 in 2012.

Far worse, when the figures are adjusted for known risks buried deep in the report, such as the latest economic forecasts, updated forecasting methods and a more realistic value of the time saved by passengers, the return drops as low as a dire 90p for every pound. In other words, HS2 actually loses the hard-pressed taxpayer 10p for every one of the £32 billion spent on it. This is well below the threshold that the Department for Transport would normally allow for any project.

No wonder the Government tried to ‘bury bad news’.

By contrast, the Government’s own consultants show that the alternative put forward by the 51m – improving our existing lines at far lower cost, has a ‘Benefit Cost Ratio’ of 5, delivering £5 for every taxpayers’ pound invested. No wonder the Government tried so hard to discredit this far better option.

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3 comments to “Just how low is the HS2 BCR?”
  1. That 90p is embarassing!! Hopefully they dare to listen once. So far, they don’t seem to care and politics go on! Wonder what the budget next month will be like, may be when they look into their cupboard again, they finally realised?!

    • I’ve heard someone liken HS2 to the story of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, now it’s also reflecting the nursery rhyme ‘Old Mother Hubbard’. Analogies of our childhood are coming back to haunt us.

      • Geoff @ GSP – and may I add ‘Rub-a-Dub-Dub’ to my list, as all three main political parties are in the HS2 ‘tub’.

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