HS2 Is That Perfect Argument Against Labour’s £trillion Pound Spending Plan

Aswe know Grandpa Death and John McDonnell are planning to spend £1 trillion of our money on all sorts of lovely baubles. This is actually before they really start to get rolling with the Green New Deal.

So, what’s the argument against this sort of government spending upon investment and infrastructure?

HS2, that’s what:

Once upon a time, the HS2 high-speed railway was meant to cost £34bn in its entirety. In 2012, that became £42bn. Then £56bn was the magic number in 2015. Now we’re up to £88bn and a review panel says further increases are likely. So what does the same panel recommend? Astonishingly, it says HS2 should be built anyway. Yet more money must be thrown at this over-indulged project, it seems.

The report’s conclusion, revealed by the Times, is even more remarkable when you consider how the claimed economic case has crumbled. Back in 2017, the benefit to taxpayers was put at £2.30 for every £1 spent. Now the figure is £1.30 to £1.50 and, presumably, will deteriorate further as cost estimates go higher.

It is hard to believe a hard-headed board of a commercial company would proceed in the same circumstances with a mega-project offering only marginally advantageous returns. It would ask if any cost estimate could be trusted given that eventual completion is now not due until 2040. It would look in horror at the procurement mistakes and wonder if contractors’ negotiating clout is ingrained. And it would ask if better returns could be generated by alternative schemes.

Yes, quite so. Even at this – fiddled – evaluation HS2 is only marginally useful. A commercial company making a commercial decision would never go ahead with the idiocy.

Which is, of course, why we should have commercial companies making these spending decisions, not politics. So that we don’t get our aggregate wealth pissed up against the wall a la HS 2.

We do indeed need a decision making process as to what should be built, where, by whom and to what standard. Politics isn’t a good way of doing that. Therefore we shouldn’t use politics to make these decisions.

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Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

HS2 was, is and always will be a political project, emanating from the EU, specifically the Trans-European Transport Network TENTEC policy, the implementation of which in the Netherlands has been ruinous.

It is possible that HS2 won’t have as big a negative impact as the Habitats Directive, the Landfill Directive and the Waste Directive, which collectively are the causes of the flooding that has blighted so many peoples’ lives. Although considering the rising costs and minimal improvements to journey times it might actually be worse.

Spike
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Spike

Surely the reason the current estimates are 1.30-1.50 “return” on the “investment” is because if you do a study that finds that one quid gets you 0.90, you’ll never work in this town again! and all the researchers know it. If the figure still hinges on the power to do work while commuting, is someone considering Tim’s continual point that more and more people don’t have to commute at all? Is Labour considering anything at all, other than its notion that it is always a good thing for government to seize capital and “invest” it wisely? Of course not; as… Read more »

Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Any management consultant will tell you that the first (and often the only) question they need to answer is “What do the people paying my invoices want my report to say?” – they can work back from that point.

Spike
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Spike

Yup, I pursued this theme in detail at https://uncyclopedia.ca/wiki/Objectivity

Gavin Longmuir
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Gavin Longmuir

Strange — I missed the announcement from Boris the Unreliable that the first thing he was going to do once he had an unassailable majority in the House of Commons would be to cancel HS2 — because he really needs that money for the Boris Bridge to Ireland. Or was it because he needed the money for that on-budget, on-time Crossrail project in London that some guy started a long time ago?

jgh
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jgh

How do I find the station to get onto this gravy train?