UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour today renewed her calls for the HS2 rail project to be scrapped after a new survey revealed 85% of British people believe it is a complete waste of money.
Her comments follow a survey by the ITV Tonight programme which showed that only 15% of people feel the project is worth the £56 billion-plus price tag.
“There has never been a convincing business case made for HS2, so it is no surprise that support for this white elephant of a project is at an all-time low,” said Mrs Seymour, a West Midlands MEP.
“People have had enough of the Government’s spin and hype, and can see the cost of this vanity project spiralling almost by the week. Who knows how eye-wateringly high the final cost will be?”
The ITV survey found that more than three quarters of people believe the HS2 budget would be better spent in other areas, like the NHS.
Mrs Seymour said: “Fewer than one in five of the regular commuters questioned in this survey said they would be using HS2 if it was built.
“This emphasises the biggest problem with the project – it is being paid for by the majority, but will only benefit a tiny minority.
“How can the Government continue to claim that £56 billion – and counting – is a price worth paying for a line which we don’t need, and which is going to destroy many communities along its route?
“Not only this, but with the owner of the West Coast Main Line franchise set to run HS2 for the first few years, it is looking even more likely that all of their other rail fares will increase.”
Mrs Seymour is also supporting an online petition on the Government website, calling for an independent technical review of the HS2 plans.
It says: “HS2 cannot meet its stated objective of delivering ‘hugely enhanced capacity and connectivity between our major conurbations’.
“We call on HM Government to commission an independent technical review of every aspect of the HS2 scheme to determine how and why this failure has happened.
“HS2 is an ill-conceived and fundamentally flawed design. The project is highly controversial because of HS2 Ltd’s failure to evaluate cheaper and better alternatives, its exorbitant cost, insufficient new capacity, poor connectivity, and demolition of 500-plus homes.”