A report has branded the HS2 rail project "abysmal value for money" after its costs almost doubled from the original £22 billion estimate to £43 billion. If the extravagant and much-hated plan goes ahead, it will be costing ten times more per mile than comparable high-speed rail schemes in Europe.
Those who suffer on our overloaded railway network and antiquated tube lines may well ask why there is so much money for one shiny sci-fi project that will benefit so few people and destroy such a large swathe of irreplaceable countryside. £43 billion to cut twenty minutes off the journey from London to Birmingham? Ridiculous, particularly when there is such an unmet need to modernise, extend and re-open old rail lines all over the country.
To me it seems strange that the government can find unlimited money for the increase in HS2 cost from £22 bn to £43bn, but can't find £30bn for the NHS. We are cutting front-line services, leaving army veterans to sleep on the streets, making young people pay for university degrees even when they wish to train as doctors and nurses ...none of this makes sense.
"Whatever measure you look at, the HS2 project is abysmal value for money"
Stop HS2 Campaign
So they have high-speed trains in Europe and in China - so what? France and Germany are considerably larger than England, and China even more so. We don't need it. The government has given in as usual to pressure from the EU and from self-interested lobby groups. And who is to profit from the building? Contracts are being openly touted in China so it won't be British companies who get that £43 billion.
We just get the bill.