Yesterday, Justine Greening did the thing that Transport Ministers like to do, and opened a shiny new train station at Southampton.
Even there, the latest news meant she could not escape from questions about HS2.
Greening claimed that in spite of the many reductions in the benefit cost ratio, it was “absolutely value for money”, and then tried to deflect attention onto Britain’s Victorian railways and the capacity issue.
The thing is, as far as the value for money issue is concerned, the benefits depend heavily on time-savings for business travellers.
As the table shows, half the benefits come from claiming time savings have a real value, with the majority of the time savings being to business travellers: all using assumptions that the report we featured yesterday say are outmoded. The crowding benefits are a much smaller fraction.
(Table from the January HS2 economic case appraisal update.)
The Olympic opening ceremony is to celebrate ‘ this gree and pleasant land’ the British countryside at a time when all major political parties try to justify the worst scarring of it for the feeblest of arguments