Survey shows public not convinced on cost of high-speed rail project

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Public confidence in the probability of the £33.1 billion HS2 high speed rail line being completed on time and to budget is low, according to new findings from independent market research firm Consumer Intelligence.

Its research reveals that only eight per cent of people believe HS2 will be complete within its proposed budget, and 11 per cent believe it will be finished on schedule.

If built, the planned line would cut through south Northamptonshire, between Brackley and Upper Boddington. The scheme has faced strong opposition, including from South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom.

Despite the lack of confidence in how the project will be managed, the findings reveal an overall approval of 52 per cent, compared to 18 per cent against it and 30 per cent who are uncertain.

But when asked whether the £33.1 billion is a worthwhile use of public money there was less support, with 42 per cent saying no and 40 per cent saying yes.

Of the 1,599 adults surveyed, 53 per cent think the project will ultimately benefit the economy. And 67 per cent said the cost of tickets would influence whether they used the service, compared with 24 per cent who said they would use it based on its speed.

David Black, of Consumer Intelligence, said: “While the HS2 project enjoys support from 52 per cent of the public surveyed there is very little confidence that it will be finished either on time or on budget.

“Given that the main reason for the project is to enable faster journeys it is alarming that far more of those that are intending to use it will primarily decide to do so based on the ticket price rather than the speed of the journey.

“There is also some work to do in convincing the public that this is the best use of government spending, with 91 per cent believing the budget would boost the economy more if it was spent on alternative transport or communication projects.”