Saturday, 28 September 2013

HS2 recruits butcher, baker & candlestick maker for business justification

I trust you were all riveted by The Times letters today which included a letter from freight company leaders. This appears just the latest attempt at creating the ever increasing HS2 business justification - recently it had become about capacity and regeneration too. I hope I am not breaching any copyright laws by quoting from the letter:
Building HS2 will free up much needed capacity on the West Coast Mainline which is a vital freight artery. That is good news, not just for us as freight companies, but for consumers. It could remove up to 500,000 lorries a year from our motorways. With fuel and road costs predicted to increase the costs of running lorries by 36% by 2040, additional rail capacity will ensure that food and drink continues to reach our supermarket shelves, at affordable prices. It will also, crucially, allow our exports, such as automotive components, to continue to reach European markets.
I have taken the liberty of emphasising some of the clues of how desperately weak this business seems to be - grand statements which lack certainty and also fail to consider that there may be alternatives. HS2 may not free up the West Coast Mainline. HS2 may not remove 500,000 lorries from our motorways and perhaps the lorries could be removed in a different way. The prediction of a 36% increase in the cost of running lorries by 2040 assumes an absence of innovation and any change in fuel taxes. The statement of affordable prices is a nonsense if you parallel that with the reality that currently many just can't afford weekly food bills at the present time. Then to cap it all we think that the market wouldn't be able to deal  with getting automotive parts to Europe.

In a nutshell, this latest intervention highlights the lack clarity on what problem HS2 is trying to solve and that we don't seem to understand why the HS2 investment is being made.

Could this whole HS2 debacle, linked with the rail franchise fiasco, be a Michael Gove orchestrated conspiracy to add business studies to the core curriculum?  

No comments:

Post a Comment