“NO BUSINESS CASE” IN SCOTLAND: IS HS2 BECOMING AN “ENGLAND ONLY” PROJECT?
28 May 2015
Unlike Scotland, HS2 was never planned to stretch into Wales and, unsurprisingly, there has long been disquiet over the burden on the Welsh taxpayer. Plaid Cymru MP, Jonathan Edwards, has been one of the most vocal in expressing the view that “Welsh taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for a development set to be built entirely in England and to the detriment of the Welsh economy”. He points to a report published by KPMG which he states predicted that HS2 would cost the South-Wales economy tens of millions of pounds each year. Mr Edwards said that HS2 Ltd’s apparent decision not to extend into Scotland was conclusive proof that HS2 was an “England only project”.
Increased rail capacity and the rebalancing of the Northern and Southern economies are two core aims on which the HS2 project is based. However, if, as a result of decisions such as this, the opinion that any positive impact of the project will be restricted to England begins to take hold, the Government will find HS2 increasingly difficult to justify to the millions of people who will feel it will yield them no obvious benefit.