HS2 IEA report coverThe cost of the UK’s High Speed 2 rail line could rocket to £80bn, according to a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs, which is described on its website as a free-market think-tank. The report also argues that £80bn spent instead on upgrading other road and rail infrastructure would produce £320bn of economic benefits.

More than £30bn of extra costs are likely to come from areas including additional roads and infrastructure to service the new line and changes to the route to buy off local opposition. Richard Wellings, the report’s author said:

“The evidence is now overwhelming that this will be unbelievably costly to the taxpayer while delivering incredibly poor value for money. It’s shameful that at a time of such financial difficulty for many families, the government is caving in to lobbying from businesses, local councils and self-interested politicians more concerned with winning votes than governing in the national interest.”

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