Pro-High Speed Rail campaigners are now calling for a government Minister to represent the project’s interests in the Department for Transport. The “HS2 Growth Taskforce” report has been attacked by the Institute of Economic Affairs, who believe having a dedicated minister would be a “massive mistake” that would favour vested interests.
The report says: “As was so successful with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we want a dedicated minister to be appointed to lead regeneration and development around HS2 at the national level.”
Whilst the Department for Transport estimate the cost of the project to be £43 billion; a study by the Institute of Economic Affairs suggested it may cost as much as £80 billion.
The IEA’s Head of Transport, Richard Wellings, said: “Giving HS2 its own minister would be a massive mistake. The project would gain disproportionate influence in the development of transport and regeneration policies, and preferential treatment in the allocation of budgets.
“In reality this would mean poor value schemes along the HS2 route would be favoured over high value schemes in the rest of the UK. The only beneficiaries from creating an HS2 minister would be the special interests that stand to gain financially from the government subsidies.”