HS2: an expensive political vanity project

Richard Wellings talks to BBC Radio 5 Live

Richard Wellings told BBC Radio 5 Live that George Osborne is making a basic economic error by ignoring the wider costs that HS2 will inflict.  The burden on the tax bill of the project will deaden the economy nationwide, Dr Wellings argued, whilst the benefits will not be felt for at least twenty years.

The main transport problems in the north of England are poor road links across the Pennines between Manchester and Sheffield, and major congestions problems on the M6. These problems could be fixed at a much lower cost with far greater benefits, Richard Wellings said.

The benefit cost ratio of HS2 is very low. Normally projects with such low returns would have been rejected by the treasury, but this is a political vanity project.

Dr Wellings pointed out that Doncaster has had a fast train link to London for decades, yet remains one of the poorest cities in the country.

Listen to the full interview here. Segment starts at 1:08.45.

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