Thinktank says London would benefit most and money should go to less wealthy areas instead
'The government’s planned HS2 high-speed rail project will make the UK even more divided and should be scrapped in favour of boosting services in the less well-off parts of the country, a left-leaning thinktank has said.
A report from the New Economics Foundation found that 40% of the benefits of the controversial project would go to London and that the £56bn budget would be better spent on upgrading the existing network and smaller-scale local projects.
Theresa May has said she remains fully committed to HS2 despite speculation that rising costs will result in the government cancelling the scheme or restricting the route to between London and Birmingham. Estimates for building the line have increased by two-thirds since 2011 after taking account of inflation, from £33.3bn to £55.8bn.
The rail industry strongly supports HS2 but the NEF report said that even if the project eventually extends to Yorkshire and the north-west, London would be the biggest beneficiary. Despite accounting for just under 25% of the UK’s economy, two-fifths of the passenger benefits – such as shorter journey times – would go to the capital. Richer households would be the main users of the new high speed route, the report added.'
Read more: HS2 would widen UK 'north-south' divide and should be axed, says report