This is a guest post by Madeleine.
The TUC is organising a national demonstration in London on Saturday 26th March. The theme is that ‘There is an Alternative’.
Stop HS2 supporters aim to have a presence on the march as we too think ‘There is an Alternative’!
We will meet at Cleopatra’s Needle on the Embankment at 10am. We welcome anyone to join us – bring your own anti-HS2 placards, banners and leaflets to hand out.
If you arrive later, use this mobile number to find us: 0777 1727 430. For details of the demonstration – e.g. lifts on coaches/ the route/ timing – go to the TUC site: http://marchforthealternative.org.uk/march-logistics/ If you need any further information from an ‘HS2 perspective’ please email.
As expected, the TUC march yesterday was good natured, (great musical bands!) and an opportunity to engage with folk who know nothing about HS2. We spoke to many railway and transport workers, putting the point that we are not against modernised or ‘high speed rail’ as such – but against Hammond’s HS2 scheme. The theme of the TUC march was ‘There is an alternative’ and we too think RP2 is an alternative that will benefit MUCH more of the country, at a FAR lower price, responding immediately to KNOWN capacity needs etc. The point that ‘hit home’ with many people is that £34 Billion (to get HS2 up to Manchester/ Leeds) is over one third of the total Education budget according to http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/
Responding to Nick above, of course there is no guarantee that if we get HS2 scrapped the Government would spend that money on alternative ways to vastly improve the rail system. There are also no guarantees that HS2 (even if agreed in a Hybrid Bill) will be built; or guarantees that it will extend up to Manchester / Leeds (they will not even put this in the Hybrid Bill); and certainly no guarantees that it will EVER be extended up to Scotland (after 2050?), which is where the real need is if the point is to replace air travel with train travel!! Yes Scottish travellers will benefit from the cumulative time savings further south but knocking about 10 minutes off the stretch of the journey between Birmingham and London (which will be the difference between the improved Virgin service at that point in time, and the new HS2 service) is really not a reason to spend over £17 BILLION!!
Yesterday’s marchers probably also noted that £34 billion is about one-third of the total £95 billion reduction in public expenditure that is being planned by 2016. The 2010-11 reduction that has been behind the current wave of cut backs to local government provision was FAR less than that. If a future Government decides to save money by scrapping HS2’s £34 billion rather than more hospitals, fire-services, police, schools, libraries, care facilities and the myriad of other public services, then that might be understandable.
I think yesterday’s marchers would agree that whatever a future Government would do with the money, we need to stop this ludicrous waste on HS2.
£34 billion is also pretty close to what the assets of Network Rail are worth…..ie the entire infrastructure as it stands now !!
Well said!Our small contingent from Perivale linked up with Unison(as we’re members)and were interviewed by Central ITN.,asking us why we were there.Answer :to contrast profligate spending on HS2 (a luxury) with slashing public services(a necessity for most people).Whether money saved if HS2 is abandoned would be spent beneficially I’ve no idea,but at least the point had to be made.
well if it isnt built then the money wont be spent on it then will it so that will be all right then !
and there is i believe only one virgin train that does london birmingham in less then eighty minutes whereas with hs2 all trains will be under fifty minutes. so hs2 will save at least thirty minutes for every passenger and every train that uses hs2 to birmingham and beyond. explain how this is going to be reduced to ten minutes please !
and here we go with rp2 again. rp2 is part of a package of measures that in total will COST MORE than the first leg of hs2 with LESS benefits.
hs2 critics seem to think they can just say anything they want whether it is true or not and cherry pick pices of information to support the dubious case that hs2 isnt needed. like rp2 rp3 etc which were put forward as alternatives to hs2 and were gone into in great detail and the conclusion was that they were NOT cost effective alternatives.
STOP HS2 was there – I stupidly spent the night in A&E after scalding myself badly rushing to collect Banners so was unable to be there as look like a mummy and not allowed to aggravate the burns. Loads of STOP HS2 marched against the cuts and HS2 – both are tough luck not tough love. 25% average local transport cuts but still HS2 rolls on – not right, not fair, not justified.
i dont know why you are going to march with a group that is against cuts and reduced government spending when hs2 is about government spending and investment. think you should be careful what you wish for. the govt might scrap hs2 if you had your wish but then continue with the cuts anyway !! at least hs2 offers the prospect of futue spending along with yet another 3 rail projects going ahead – about the only good news in the budget apart from the derisory 1p fule tax cut ! still it proves that rail investment is still going ahead despite all the claims about hs2 sucking it dry !!
for the record i do believe that the coalition is wrong in the way they are going about the cuts as i dont see why the poorer and more disadvantage should pay literally a higher price then the better off. nor do i see how planning on raising the unemployment rate is a particularly shrewd move. so rethink the strategy but dont abandon hs2.
Maglev is the alternative … can anybody here me?