A government-commissioned report produced by Atkins, Aecom and Frontier Economics, has concluded that the net present value of the benefits of HS1 is £6.7bn with costs of £12.6bn. This means that the net present value of HS1, calculated over a 60 year period is minus £5.9bn. Even when the wider economic benefits are added in, the loss over this period is £4.57bn.
How different from the heady days of 2011 when MPs were talking up the economic benefits of HS1 prior to the decision on whether or not to proceed with HS2. The eye-catching figure quoted by Ministers within the DfT and beyond was that HS1 would generate economic benefits of £10bn. They failed to add that such a figure would be achieved over a period of 60 years.
Now we know, as reality bites, this figure was wildly optimistic. As a consequence, it is safe to say, the high-speed line will cease to be trotted out by supporters of HS2. But, rest assured, Ministers will be given another hold on to your hats statistic to cheer to the rafters, that is until that one falls apart too.