HS2 derailment victory for common sense, but more reform needed


Energy and Environment

Andy Mayer writes for CapX

Commenting on Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party Conference speech, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The derailing of HS2 is a victory for common sense. It never made sense to spend over £100 billion for slightly faster trips between London and Manchester. Commuter transport, linking people to work and family, delivers far better value for money. Though it is deeply disappointing not a single penny of the savings will be returned to taxpayers.

“More broadly, the government must address our broken planning system and the astronomical cost of building infrastructure in Britain. It shouldn’t be impossible to build big projects without going outrageously over budget.

“The Prime Minister rightly committed to making long term decisions — but it’s all long term central planning like cigarette prohibition rather than meaningful reform. The government appears to have given up on the truly thorny issues like cutting spending, reforming the NHS or fixing the broken planning system.”


Notes to Editors

Contact: [email protected] / 07763 365520

In 2011, the IEA published High Speed 2: the next government project disaster?, which argued that the benefits of HS2 were overstated, the costs likely to overrun, and that a disproportionate amount of the project’s risks was being born by taxpayers:

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.