Tax and Fiscal Policy

The case for HS2 does not stack up


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Philip Booth to step down as Academic & Research Director

Energy and Environment

New IEA report asks if transport policy should be determined at EU level

Reaction to the latest on HS2

Commenting on the latest news regarding HS2 and the admission of transport experts that costs should be cut, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs said: 

“HS2 is a fundamentally flawed vanity project that will be extortionately expensive and deliver very little benefit to taxpayers. Belatedly, it seems that policymakers and academics alike are finally coming to this realisation. 

“The supposed justifications for going ahead with the project have been discredited one by one. Arguments about the benefits of faster journeys, capacity and regeneration of the north have all been debunked, and all this at the estimated cost of £80 billion. Ultimately, if the HS2 project offered value for money the private sector would pay for it, rather than piling costs onto hard-pressed taxpayers. 

“Token cost-cutting will not suffice. The government should abandon the project altogether and look to prioritise removing regulations that are barriers to the development of commercially viable schemes that do not cost the taxpayer at all.”

Notes to editors: 

To arrange an interview, please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer: [email protected] or 020 7799 8920.

In April 2014 the IEA published Failure to Transform: High-Speed Rail and the Regeneration Myth, by Dr Richard Wellings which can be downloaded here.

In August 2013, the IEA published The High-Speed Gravy Train: Special Interests, Transport Policy and Government Spending.

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.