Home > General Politics, Terrible Tories > HSR: another selfless act from our business leaders

HSR: another selfless act from our business leaders

I have written a good deal about my concerns over the Tories’ (and until recently Labour’s) commitment to press ahead with high speed rail, irrespective of the risks of increasing regional and intra-regional inequalities.

However, I must be wrong, because 68 business leaders have written to the FT saying high speed rail is a really good thing.

Amongst these selfless  business leaders, who  absolutely have the best interests of this country at heart and are in no way acting out of narrow self-interest, is Hugh Jones, Chief Executive of Steer Davies Gleave.

You know, that Steer Davies Gleave –  the international transport consultancy which makes a lot of its income from advising government on big transport infrastructure projects.

That Steer Davies Gleave that’s currently offering US VIPs a 5 day high speed rail ‘experience’.

Oh no, hold on…..

  1. Barney Stannard
    February 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I find this debate hard to make sense of. I sympathise with your concerns and understand the causal link you set out, but arguing that we shouldn’t improve transport links because people would run away from the North does seem a trifle Luddite/defeatist.

    • Mike
      February 25, 2011 at 1:07 am

      Given HSR, people won’t have to run away from the North. Be nice if businesses ran away from the South, which is the real need.

  2. February 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Does any of that disqualify Mr. Jones’s opinion? If so, then most union leaders should shut up about wage rates and the like.

  3. February 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    as someone from Brum I actually think HSR2 makes a lot of sense. anything that brings us closer to London and encourages companies to move further north to take advantage of the cheaper climate is a good thing.

    Get away from the overheated SE as the centre of the country where all policy is made and based on

  4. February 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Barney @1: It’s not about North-south lins. It’s about disparities within regions. I’m not against HSR per se, but there are bigger priorities for now (forget cost, I’m into public invesment, but just in terms of delivery capacity). We should be focusing on reconnecting/connect towns to regional hubs first. Then by all means have HSR, but I think by that time the business case such as it is would be lessened because regions would develop better regional supply chains etc.

    Mike @2: Agreed. I’m not against HSR as much as pro-regionalisation of economies.

    David @3: Point is he didn’t declare that interest, so it’s dishonest (though I’m not going to get massively fussed about it – it was a quick filler post). Union leaders, by their job title, declare their interest.

    ianrobo@4: I’m all for getting away from the SE. I’m writing from Lancashire and have a v regional perspective. For the centre of Birmingham there may be good benefits, though the risk is it will simply turn some of the bits with access to the station into a commuter town for London, and create major property and other service disparities with other parts of the west Midlands. i’m no great expert, and a lot of the impacts like this need proper computer modelling, but my point is that none of this work has been done. The risk assessments are very weak as far as I can see.

    I’ll blog more on this at some point. Supply chains are where it’s at, both goods and people. (I did a lot of the initial socio-economic impact assessment for the now reopened Ebbw Valley Railway, and that taught me a lot.)

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