Laura Sharman 08 September 2016

Scrap 'economically irresponsible' HS2 argues think tank

Scrap economically irresponsible HS2 argues think tank image

The ‘costly and inefficient’ HS2 programme should be scrapped after figures showed it will cost the taxpayer in excess of £50bn, a think tank has claimed.

The Adam Smith Institute branded the scheme ‘economically irresponsible’ in a new paper out today.

It said HS2 will cost nine times more per mile than high speed tracks in France and - with off-peak occupancy levels well below 50% - will deliver ‘rock bottom’ returns.

Instead, the think tank said the Government should focus on schemes like the electrification of the TransPennine Railway and the London-Sheffield mainline in order to achieve its Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The paper also calls for the Government to sell off 49.9% of Network Rail to replicate the success of the privatisation of the National Grid worth over £35bn.

Adam Smith Institute fellow and author of the paper, Nigel Hawkins, said: ‘Action to sort out Britain's railways is a priority. Radical decisions are needed to deliver financial competence, sensible investment and improved customer benefits into the system.

‘Scrapping the shockingly expensive HS2, selling up to 49.9% of Network Rail and cracking down on under-performing franchises are priorities.’

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