The corporately profitable HS2 project: based on the World Bank’s crystal ball? Irrelevant? A lame, taxpayer-funded duck?
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The World Bank is now renewing the drive for more large infrastructure projects. It announced a return to big hydropower projects, despite continued concerns about projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala and Uganda.
The verdict of Rachel Kyte, its vice president for sustainable development, on one of these: “The stars are aligned now. Let’s go.”
Osborne is acting in the same spirit, but Britain’s largest infrastructure project – the HS2 – is to be financed by the long-suffering taxpayer.
Irrelevant? By the time HS2 arrives, we’ll no longer need it
A Moseley reader points us to a verdict in The Times:
“One big investment looks increasingly like a dangerous gamble rather than a good bet. That dangerous bet is HS2, the high-speed rail project that is now set to cost £40 billion and will link London with Birmingham by 2026 and with Manchester and Leeds by 2032…
“Britain’s all-party consensus in favour of HS2 comes at a time when François Hollande is turning away from expansion of France’s TGV network…
“A bit like the Space Shuttle and Concorde, high-speed rail has the feel of a technology whose time has passed” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
If the business case for the white elephant is as good as its promoters say, the private sector would be rushing to invest
The budget for HS2 is being increased by over a fifth from £34.5bn to £42.6bn. The Financial times quotes John Cridland, head of the CBI, calling for a rethink on the high-speed rail scheme. “It is good that the government is upfront about extra funding, but the case for judging this absolutely has to be value for money. At what point does it cease to be value for money?”
Last word to Mr Billington in the Letters section of the Birmingham Post – no longer online – after effectively debunking the ‘absence/shortage of capacity’ issue of capacity:
“There is no credible case so HS2 has not been offered to the private sector . . . We do not need or want HS2 – drop it now before any more sovereign debt is incurred needlessly on its misguided pursuit”.
Posted on July 1, 2013, in Banking and finance, Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Government, Lobbying, Planning, Vested interests and tagged Birmingham Post, HS2, The World Bank. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.