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UKIP would axe HS2 and reward brownfield site development

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The UK Independence Party (UKIP) would axe plans for an HS2 rail link and offer developers five-figure sums for each home they build on brownfield land, its manifesto reveals

According to the party, the high speed north-south rail project was a ‘white elephant’ that would ‘blight thousands of homes and wreak irreparable environmental damage’ across England. The document reads: ‘It must face the axe.’

Nigel Farage’s party also outlines several measures to take the sting out of the coalition’s more controversial social security changes and curb foreign nationals access to public services.

HS2 must face the axe

The party would exempt the first £250,000 of new homes on brownfield land from stamp duty.

It would charge the Environment Agency with compiling a ‘national brownfield sites register’ and provide advice on how to prepare them for housing.

UKIP would also reward councils with an enhanced ‘new homes bonus’ for properties built on brownfield land.

‘We will take steps to remove the barriers to brownfield builds with the aim of building 1m homes on brownfield sites by 2025 to address the current housing shortage,’ it says.

In the section of welfare, UKIP says it would scrap the ‘bedroom tax’ that tailors housing benefit payments according to household rather than property size. The party would also allow tenants to pay the benefit directly to their landlord.

Both these policies have attracted much criticism, after their introduction by the coalition.

UKIP’s manifesto also includes policies aimed at improving the lot of people who become homeless but suggests those who can prove ‘local connections’ should be at the front of the queue for help.

‘We will establish a national homeless register to make it easier for those of no fixed abode to claim welfare entitlements,’ it adds.

‘Pressure on social housing waiting lists [will be relived] by preventing foreign nationals from obtaining access to social housing until they have lived here and paid UK tax and national insurance for a minimum of five years.’

 

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The HS2 plans proposed by the government are a ridiculous and harmful scheme. The proposed new line is not connected directly to the existing HS1 and European high speed network. It is obsessed with a high speed link to Heathrow airport when for almost a year Birmingham airport has been able to handle all long haul flights, thus making a Heathrow connection unnecessary. Also the proposed HS2 route has no major towns along it much reducing the possible benefits. By far the best route is to extend the high speed line from Stratford up the Lea valley then via Luton to Birmingham. Apart from being a better route this will also save much disruption and give much more value for money.

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  • I agree that HS2 needs to be connected to HS1 (and also properly connect Heathrow to Europe, Birmingham airport and the north),

    But HS2 trains will indeed run between 8 of our top 10 cities (London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Nottingham and York - with trains continuing to Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow too).

    And HS2 is the cheapest way to add capacity to our THREE main north-south main lines (the WCML, ECML and Midland mainline - to thus add more commuter capacity to 100 other towns along each of those OLD lines. The Atkins study proved that it would cost as much to add far less capacity by widening all 3 of those lines. And they would be closed for 10 years with huge disruption costs too. New build is also far easier to keep to budget. Just compare Crossrail (on time/ on budget) to the WCML upgrade (3 times over budget) for an example of that.

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