A ‘free market’ think-tank has warned the government’s planned high speed rail route could cost in excess of £80 billion and has called for it to be dumped
The Institute of Economic Affairs has said the descision to build HS2 is not justified after analysis of the costs and benefits of the system.
The controversial HS2 network was given the go-ahead in January. At the time the project was expected to cost £32.7 billion, but the report released today (19 August) suggests this figure is more likely to be around £80 billion.
The report has suggested government lobbying is to blame for this uprise in costs.
Richard Wellings, author of the report, said: ‘It’s time the government abandoned its plans to proceed with HS2. The evidence is now overwhelming that this will be unbelievably costly to the taxpayer while delivering incredibly poor value for money.
‘It’s shameful that at a time of such financial difficulty for many families the government is caving in to lobbying from businesses, local councils and self-interested politicians more concerned with winning votes than governing in the national interest.’
The proposed new HS2 route will initially connect London to Birmingham, before going on to reach Leeds and Manchester.
The first phase of construction, the line from London to Birmingham, is expected to open in 2026, followed in 2032-33 by legs to Manchester, Leeds and Heathrow.
The route has previously been slammed, with a raft of legal challenges being mounted against the government by HS2 Alliance.
The former chief executive of Union Railways John Armitt said there was a ‘risk that HS2 will not happen, back in July.
'Poor value' HS2 should be scrapped, argues think-tank