Home > DocuBase > Article

« All DocuBase Articles


Follow DocuTicker on Twitter   Feed

Wednesday, 21st August 2013

UK: The High-speed Gravy Train

Source: Institute of Economic Affairs (UK)

From Summary:

The decision to build High Speed 2 is not justified by an analysis of the costs and benefits of the scheme. Even the government’s own figures suggest that HS2 represents poor value for money compared with alternative investments in transport infrastructure.
Ministers appear to have disregarded the economic evidence and have chosen to proceed with the project for political reasons. An analysis of the incentives facing transport policymakers provides plausible explanations for their tendency to favour a low-return, high-risk project over high-return, low-risk alternatives.

A group of powerful special interests appears to have had a disproportionate influence on the government’s decision to build HS2. The high-speed-rail lobby includes engineering firms likely to receive contracts to build the infrastructure and trains for HS2, as well as senior officials of the local authorities and transport bureaucracies that expect to benefit from the new line.

An effective lobbying campaign in favour of HS2 was initiated and funded by concentrated interests expecting to make economic gains from the project. This effort appears to have been effective at marshalling support for the scheme among policymakers.
‘Vote buying’ incentives were also important in building political support for a high-speed line. The policy was initially adopted partly as a response to local opposition to Heathrow expansion.

The main losers from HS2 - the taxpayers in every part of the UK who will be forced to fund it - are highly dispersed, and therefore have weak incentives to actively oppose it. By contrast, members of communities along the route, where losses are concentrated, have had very strong incentives to campaign. This pattern of activity has enabled the debate to be misleadingly framed in the media in terms of local objections versus national economic benefits.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 745 KB)

+ Summary

+ Press Release



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

More articles by Adrian Janes »

Please note: DocuTicker's editors collect citations for full-text PDF reports freely available on the web but we do not archive these reports. When you click a link to find and/or download the report, you are leaving the DocuTicker site. DocuTicker makes no representations regarding the ongoing availability of any report or any external resource. Links were accurate as of the date of posting.

« All DocuBase Articles



FreePint supports the value of information in the enterprise. Read more »

FeedLatest FreePint Content:

  • Click to view the article Curating Commodity Information
    Tuesday, 1st December 2015

    Curating information efficiently is an ever-important skill as the volume of information continues to increase exponentially. Eileen Steer examines how information professionals are curating information and adding value to the data selected before directing it to end-users. She also looks at technology vs human solutions.

  • Click to view the article Laying the Groundwork for Real Change in Stakeholder Attitudes
    Monday, 30th November 2015

    Robin Neidorf, FreePint's director of research, shines the spotlight on the tricky issue of convincing stakeholders of the value of information services. She posits a model of the stakeholder world view and advocates re-constructing that, to show the threat presented by missing information expertise and the potential benefits that can accrue from incorporating it.

  • Click to view the article FreePint for Government
    Monday, 30th November 2015

    Government agencies have to address an additional set of expectations that private companies simply don't face. We identify highlights from recent FreePint articles, Communities of Practice and consulting sessions which are of interest to those in government responsible for adapting information strategy to practice.

  • ... more ...

All FreePint Content »
FreePint Topics »

A FreePint Subscription delivers articles and reports that support your organisation's information practice, content and strategy.

Find out more and order a FreePint Subscription by visiting the
completing our online form: Subscription Order page.

FreePint Testimonials

"We have enjoyed immensely working with FreePint's consulting team. Their broad experience and practical hands-on approach to strategic ..."

Read more testimonials and supply yours »




Receive the DocuTicker Newsletter each week.

Find out more »

Article Categories

All Article Categories »


All DocuBase Sources »

Source Categories

All Source Categories »


All Archives »