Whatever concerns people might have about the environmental impact of fracking, its economic benefits are clear. That is not the case with the proposed HS2 rail link between London and the North. This newspaper accepts the need to renew our infrastructure in order to grow, but any such proposals have to be shown to represent value for money. Today we report on damning research from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), which calculates that HS2 will end up costing us double the initial estimate.
The IEA accuses policymakers of driving up expenses by trying to “buy off” opposition with tricks such as extended tunnelling or diverting the line, and says that local authorities, transport bureaucracies and business groups are pressurising the Government to finance loss-making, taxpayer-funded projects along the route. The final price tag could reach £80 billion.