The ConservativeHome Manifesto: Scrap HS2

This week Conservative Home is publishing their manifesto, calling it “ten policies to make a difference”. The explain what they want to do in their introduction:

Our manifesto for ordinary working people sets out a programme of reforms designed to support home ownership, full employment and savings for all.

Under their policies for jobs, they say

(3) Scrap HS2 to create a Northern infrastructure Fund – The battle for Britain’s future prosperity will be won or lost in its cities beyond London. HS2 is yet another London-centric mega-project that won’t even reach the North until the 2030s and won’t reach key cities like Liverpool at all. We would scrap HS2 and re-direct the planned public investment in its entirety to a Northern Infrastructure Fund under the control of elected mayors from across the region.

On Tuesday they published more details of this policy, saying:

There is no reason why the northern conurbation shouldn’t be as well connected as London is. For instance, the distance between Manchester and Leeds is about the same length as the Piccadilly Line. Yet despite the proven success of infrastructure upgrades like the Northern Hub in the Greater Manchester area, Whitehall’s big idea for the North is HS2 – a luxury train to London that won’t even reach the North until 2032 at the earliest, won’t reach certain key cities like Liverpool at all and which won’t provide east-west links across the region.

While George Osborne’s recent suggestion for a new high speed line – or ‘HS3’ – between Leeds and Manchester is to be welcomed, its very name says all we need to know about Whitehall’s order of priorities.

The Fund would be used to provide the core finance for a generational programme of investments in transport, communication and other infrastructural links between the key urban centres of the North and the Midlands. ….


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