22/8/10 – High Speed Rail Compensation- Vulnerable will be exploited by worse scheme than in 1844 says campaign group.

High Speed Rail Compensation-

Vulnerable will be exploited by worse scheme than in 1844 says campaign group.

The ‘Exceptional Hardship Scheme’ announced by Government to buy houses from those affected by the London-Birmingham high speed rail link (HS2) will lead to unscrupulous speculators profiteering from vulnerable people with an urgent need to sell their homes, according to campaign group Stop HS2.

Joe Rukin, acting convenor of Stop HS2 said;

“Home and land owners will not qualify for compensation under the interim scheme if they are offered just 85% of the market value of their property, but when compulsory purchase comes in under the statutory blight scheme after the public consultation, they would get full compensation. This means that people needing to sell right away due to financial pressures will be forced to take any offer of 85% of market value. There is no doubt that speculators will try and cash in on the vulnerable, as they will be able to buy houses for a knock-down rate, sit on them for a year or so and then the Government will pay them the full market value, meaning they would net a 17.65% return before any increase in general property values is taken into account.”

“In addition, it’s totally unreasonable that people are expected to put their lives on hold, as they will only get compensation if they are selling their house for the right reasons, and if the ‘independent panel’ decide they qualify for part of the limited £50m budget for EHS. Over 4500 people replied to the consultation about the compensation, but the Government reckon only a tenth that number are actually affected, despite there are plans for a 100 metre construction zone.”

Recently, Kenilworth historian Robin L each compared the scheme on offer to what was on offer in back in 1844 when the railways were first built, stating; “Landowners received about £320 per acre as compensation for the loss of their land, approaching twice its value. Compensation paid under today’s ‘Exceptional Hardship Scheme’ doesn’t appear to be as generous.”

Rukin added;

“The compensation on offer is of course a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of HS2, which is totally unjustified. The need for the network has been based on speculation, guesswork, false assumptions and soundbites. To waste upwards of 3% of our generational national debt on this at a time when new schools and hospitals are being shelved is obscene. Just last week we were told the Government was shelving plans to build new playgrounds, but it seems that Philip Hammond will still get his new train set.”

Notes to editors

 

  1. For press enquiries contact Joe Rukin at Stop HS2 on 07811 371880 or info@stophs2.org
  2. Stop HS2 is working on behalf of over 50 actions groups to stop the HS2 proposals, with the key message “No business case, no environmental case, no money to pay for it.
  3. Website at http://www.stophs2.org
  4. EHS will not cover home owners living over tunnels, such as Labour leadership candidate David Milliband, and will only apply to people selling their house for the ‘right’ reasons;
  • Moving house because of a job.
  • Selling because the owner has died.
  • Having your home repossessed or being under extreme financial pressure.
  • Needing to move into a larger house an enlarged family (though not due to a smaller family or divorce).
  • Needing to move into sheltered accommodation, a nursing home, or in with other family members due to health issues.
  • Being unable to manage a property.

To qualify, properties must have been on the market for three months. Vendors will also only qualify if no-one has offered more than 85% of unblighted market value. Even if homeowners qualify on all these counts, it will be down to an ‘independent’ panel to decide whether they will release part of the £50m budget earmarked for EHS.

 

  

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