North East residents will suffer not benefit from HS2, said local MEP Jonathan Arnott today.
“The project is currently estimated at £55.7billion and of course this will prove to be a hideous under-estimate by the time it is completed.
“The government should end this folly in its tracks right now and stop wasting these mega-bucks which frankly this country cannot afford and which will cost every taxpayer in the land dearly, including those in my constituency,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.
“The only beneficiaries are the companies involved in its development and businesses in London. It is a myth that it will encourage businesses to set up in the Midlands and the North, it will largely encourage growth in the capital, as happened in Paris with the TGV.
“It is nonsense for Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to say it will help re-balance the economy. I am particularly concerned about the urgent need for investment in the North East and some of the cash being lavished on this white elephant project could be spent there.
“It is also a disaster for the environment and is blighting the lives of those whose homes and livelihoods are near the proposed route.
“HS2 is not, and never will be, value for money and it should be scrapped and instead resources directed to other transport projects, which unlike this scheme, are actually needed. Existing rail lines should be upgraded and where practical old disused lines should be re-opened.
“Also the A1 should be upgraded to motorway throughout the North East, it is just not good enough that parts of it are just single carriageway,” said Mr Arnott.