Scrap ‘economically irresponsible’ HS2 argues think tank

The ‘costly and inefficient’ HS2 programme should be scrapped after figures showed it will cost the taxpayer in excess of £50bn, a think tank has claimed.

The Adam Smith Institute branded the scheme ‘economically irresponsible’ in a new paper out today.

It said HS2 will cost nine times more per mile than high speed tracks in France and – with off-peak occupancy levels well below 50% – will deliver ‘rock bottom’ returns.

Instead, the think tank said the government should focus on schemes like the electrification of the TransPennine Railway and the London-Sheffield mainline in order to achieve its Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The paper also calls for the government to sell off 49.9% of Network Rail to replicate the success of the privatisation of the National Grid worth over £35bn.

Adam Smith Institute fellow and author of


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