More Willy Hutton

The current estimated cost of £42.6bn includes a generous £14.2bn for contingencies on top of already much checked estimates for the special tunnelling to make the scheme environmentally and politically acceptable, especially in the most controversial part of the route – from London to Birmingham. In this respect the project is analogous to the Olympic Games, where a large contingency allowed the spending eventually to be under-budget.

the Olympic Games where the original budget was £2.5 billion or so and which ended up costing £20 billion?

11 thoughts on “More Willy Hutton”

  1. If I remember rightly, the £2.5 billion figure was the one produced for the “shall we bid for the Olympics?” phase of the propaganda campaign. In other words a downright lie. The budget, which the Olympics came in under, was arrived at by leaving out anything from the total spent that exceeded the figure.
    So the comparison with HS2 is proably accurate.

  2. I’m pleased that Hutton is convinced it’s going to be within budget. He seems to be absolutely certain. But then he’s got nothing to lose has he?

    Perhaps he’d like to stake something of great personal value to himself to assure that he’s willing to back his opinions.

    I’d suggest a kidney. To be donated after the government increases the HS2 funding beyond £45bn.

  3. At least the channel tunnel only lost money for the poor mugs who willingly invested in it. (It’s not a crime to part a fool and his money, it’s your capitalistic duty.) But HS2 risks losing money under duress (taxes) and still not creating a railway line. Lots of govt projects, remember the ID card, the NHS card, etc, get abandoned half way through.

  4. As someone who does occasionally travel Birmingham to London and back, cannot see a move to using HS2 when it eventually gets built if its any more expensive than regular train. If its same price and gets there quicker, great. Cannot see it being same price, can see it travelling fairly empty unless government cut the other trains from Brum to London.

  5. I’m guessing the government is hoping people in London will be looking to work in Birmingham with a high-speed rail link. London house, Brummie salary. Hmmmm. More like this will just increase the number of people turning up to work in London each morning trying to cram onto the tube, and further increasing the concentration of the economy in London.

  6. This made me choke on my tea:
    “British-owned companies have a baleful record on investment and innovation.”
    I’m sorry, what?? Does this man live on the same planet as the rest of us?

  7. Tim: of course it’ll have to be Brummie house, London salary, because that one actually works.

    My prediction is that the project will come in on time and under budget for getting to Birmingham. At that point, it will be declared a roaring success, and quietly stopped.

    And all the while, we won’t be working on making it easier for people to use the trains productively (by investing in mobile broadband coverage to allow people to us existing connections reliably) or on improving railway connections within the North (which, by cutting out London, has a far better chance to rebalance the economy). It’s still all London-centred and focussed on speed. Stupid, stupid, stupid, and wasting billions.

  8. I would guess that the thinking behind this is far shallower than people are giving credit for here. There is just a general idea that “transport links” generate “economic growth” in some vague kind of way, and I doubt there is any actual thought beyond that. The do like building railways, oh yes.

  9. Even £42bn is a colossal sum to build a railway line between two cities which already share a railway line.

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