19 Oct 2013

Revealed: the towns and cities set to lose millions over HS2

Bristol, Cambridge and Aberdeen are among 50 areas that could lose millions as a result of the HS2, according to government research released for the first time.

The areas set to lose out from HS2 were originally omitted from the government-commissioned report when it was published in September.

At the time, the Department for Transport hailed the study – which found the UK economy would be boosted by £15bn a year – and listed the areas which would benefit, including Greater London by £2.8bn and the West Midlands by £1.5bn.

But the areas that would lose out have now been revealed, with those worst affected by a drop in economic output including Aberdeen by £220m, Cambridge by £127m, Bristol by £101m, and Essex south by £151m. The West Country also stands to be affected, with Cornwall set to lose £19.25m.

The accountants used data from HS2 Ltd’s own assessment of the direct transport impacts of the scheme, which would connect London to Birmingham and to Manchester and Leeds.

The chief executive of HS2 Ltd, Alison Munro, said: “What this is showing is that the places that are on the high-speed network… those are the places that will benefit most from high-speed two.

“But high-speed two isn’t the only investment that the government is making. Over the next five years it is planning to spend £73bn on transport infrastructure.”

The full findings of the KPMG study into the business case of the high speed rail route were released following a Freedom of Information request.

Government ‘dishonest’

But Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the government had been “dishonest” in spending £250,000 on a report and then only partially releaseing the findings.

“This is further evidence, if it were needed, that the KPMG report was a taxpayer-funded propaganda exercise,” he said. “It’s time to scrap this project before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted on its construction or its expensive PR.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “These figures show that the new north south railway is vital to rebalance our economy and it boosts the north overall more than the south. Of course the line does not serve every city and region and these figures reflect that.

“But it is wrong to take them in isolation. HS2 is part of a much bigger boost to our transport system – £73bn in the next parliament, of which HS2 is just £17bn. This will massively benefit places HS2 will not serve long before the line opens.”