Polling conducted by ComRes has put support for HS2 at all all-time low, with only 22% of the public saying they were in favour of the construction of the railway line when asked if they would support the projects at the current official cost of £50bn. Previous polls by YouGov had seen support for HS2 consistently drop from 42% of the public in January 2012 to 24% in October 2014.
Just 1% of British adults say that high speed rail from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester (HS2) is their top priority for government spending, the lowest of all options tested. In addition, only 7% of British adults say that HS2 is one of their top four priorities for government spending. 43% of respondents said that HS2 was their lowest priority of all the options tested. “Given continuing pressure on public finances, in your opinion, which of the following policies, if any, should be the highest priorities for government spending?”, people responded as set out in this table.
When asked if they would support HS2 if the costs increased, support for HS2 fell even further, with only 13% supporting it at a cost of £70bn, and just 7% at a cost of £100bn.
Both UKIP and The Green Party, who both oppose HS2 were buoyed by the results which vindicate their parties policies on the project.
Rupert Read, Green Party Spokesperson for Transport, said:
“HS2 is a high-carbon high-expense vanity project. It’s extremely encouraging to see that the public are seeing through the relentless propaganda put out by special interest groups who back the flawed scheme.”
“The Green Party are the Party of and for public transport. We would take the money earmarked by HS2 and use it to revolutionise our entire transport network: investing in local infrastructure and joining up communities that have become isolated by decades of cuts in public transport spending.
UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour said the latest opinion polls on the HS2 rail link provided stronger evidence than ever that it should be abandoned.
Mrs Seymour, MEP for the West Midlands, said: “UKIP wants to scrap HS2, and it is clear that the overwhelming majority of the public are on our side. It is not good value for money and it will divert already scarce public funds away from other investment that is much more urgently needed to improve our transport and communications infrastructure.”
“The case for HS2 is flawed in all respects. Its estimated cost is already £50 billion, but that figure is rising all the time. And this is money that the UK simply cannot afford to be spending.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin responded:
“It is amazing that politicians from the main parties think that HS2 is a vote winner, when every poll has made it clear that the public have not been bought by the spin about HS2. This latest poll shows that despite all the spin and political bluster trying to drum up support for HS2, its support for HS2 keeps on dropping, and is now in the basement.”
“The fact the politicians fly in the face of public opinion by pushing HS2 forward is just another demonstration of how out of touch they are. With more austerity promised by most of those standing in the election, how can they possibly think people want HS2? The whole concept does not compute with voters, and there are surely votes to be won by those parties saying they will cancel HS2, and many of them are in crucial swing seats.”
Penny Gaines, Chair of Stop HS2 added,
“There are fewer and fewer people who think HS2 is a good idea, with under a quarter of the public saying they are for it. With groups ranging from the Institute of Directors to the Woodland Trust saying that HS2 is the wrong project, the Government really should be listening. Unfortunately, they seem to have stuck their fingers in their ears, so opponents of HS2 need to be even more vocal in opposing the proposed railway.”
“HS2 is a £50 billion white elephant. The economic case uses outdated assumptions about business travel, and building it will be hugely environmentally damaging. The case for HS2 collapsed years ago, but the Department for Transport seem determined to push forward none the less. We call on all Parliamentary candidates to look closely at the plans, and for the incoming Government to cancel it as soon as possible.”
Full data tables can be found at https://stophs2.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/AGAHST_Tables_March-2015.pdf