Philip Hammond on the north-south divide

Philip Hammond seems to have a strange idea about how to heal the north-south divide.

His way is to tell the people in Yorkshire that if they don’t get a new railway to London its the fault of the people in Buckinghamshire shouting too loudly.

Of course, the opponents of HS2 are not just based in a small area of Buckinghamshire.   Philip Hammond knows this. He has met protesters against HS2 from all along the route, up to Lichfield in Staffordshire.  He has looked at the entire route, he has met MPs from the entire route, and almost certainly had letters from the entire route.

The Green Party – with their Brighton MP – is opposed to HS2.  They aren’t based in Buckinghamshire.

Various other writers and analysts, ranging from Chris Stokes to Christian Wolmar have come out against HS2.  They aren’t based in Buckinghamshire.

Staffordshire County Council voted to oppose HS2 yesterday.  They aren’t based in Buckinghamshire.

The voices against HS2 come from all over the place.  Philip Hammond is ignoring the arguments, and refusing to listen to them.   And worse, he is pitting northern county against southern county in a way that can only exacerbate differences within Britain.

13 comments to “Philip Hammond on the north-south divide”
  1. Of course Nick the 365 people in 6 council blocks apart from others along the line dont matter.On 90 year old
    has been told that he wont know what he would get until june and that the government want 15% of it he doesnt know why.I do believe that less travel should be needed if more local businesses were helped to start.
    I do hope you read the piece about govts environmental watchdogs findings.We could do with them being kept to keep an eye on things.

  2. If I lived in Bham, and I did as a baby, I would be furious that the council have made huge cuts, but have found
    £200,000 to try to get a train that,as yet has not been found to have a sound business case.Also even if built it would not help the area for years, when the problems are now.

    • Elaine – every council in the UK has had to make cuts.

      Problems are now…..and we have problems everyday and will continue to do so whilst the amount of debt the country carries as a % of GDP is high. But of course that is a problem for a lot of countries as well. What it doesnt mean however is that you completely stop investing for tommorrow……if we did the problems just wouldnt go away in the longer term.

      What did you make of the budget yesterday? And what did you think of the interview with the official from the OBR ??

      • With my moderator hat on:

        As this is a site about HS2, could anyone discussing the budget make sure it is directly relevant to HS2. Thanks.

      • With Pennys comment in mind, I ll re phrase it……Elaine , what impact do you think OBR could have on the buisness case for HS2 ?

          • Penny the roadshow looks like a village fete and ill befits a scheme of this scale and importance. But when you have the likes of Hammond and Munro running the project – what did we expect.

  3. There is no guarantee that HS2 will help the economies of places remote from London. The people of Brighton do not benefit particularly from the town’s good train service to London. The main effect is to drive up property prices (land values) to London suburban heights, whilst forcing those with local jobs at local pay levels to live in places further along the coast such as Worthing, Lancing and Seaford.

    The simplest way to close the north-south divide is by re-structuring the tax system to lighten the burden on areas of geographical disadvantage.

    • Henry – I wouldnt disagree with your comment about re structure of tax system….which is why it was pleasing to see the announcement of 21 enterprise zones in places like London , Birmingham Manchester and Leeds, which co incidentally are stops named in the HS2 project.

  4. Pingback: STOP HS2 | A tale of two councils

  5. Philip Hammond talks about “winners” and “losers”. Andrew Adonis says “everyone wants the stations but no-one wants the line”.

    There is undoubtedly an element of self-interest but a lot of people genuinely think HS2 is a bad idea and are against it for that reason and that reason alone.

    Other schemes are possible where there would not be winners and losers, but could achieve a “win-win” outcome.

    • what schemes are those ? how do you expand the existing network and build more lines without causing more disruption and cause more people to lose their homes then hs2 does and at a higher overall cost. i think you mean it would be a win for you as the disruption and construction would take place elsewhere. you dont want it so you wish it on someone else. very charitable. it is becoming very hard to refrain from using the five letter N word but it is very hard to see from your posts what other conclusion one can come too. !

      i live near welwyn viaduct so i suppose you would be happy enough for it to be widened at great cost no matter how many houses had to be knocked down or BLIGHTED.. and before you say i would agree with it if it could be done with minimum disruption but you would have to do the same in many many other places. the inconvenient truth about upgrading the existing network is that in many cases it goes through the middle of villages, towns and cities already so enlarging it would be very expensive and disruptive. maybe we should all stop travelling as many hs2 critics regularly say. You can set a good example by not going to Europe this summer ! or at least not fly !!!

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