Proposed High Speed Rail ‘could cost Borders £9m’

What an HS2 train may look like.
What an HS2 train may look like.
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The controversial plan for a high speed railway between London and Birmingham could prove costly for Berwickshire and the Borders.

According to one action group, the region could stand to lose nearly £9million.

HS2 Action Alliance has said this week that while the plan is being pushed through, the number of trains from Berwick and Scotland to London could be cut in order to raise funds for the £50billion project.

It is thought that the economic output of the Border towns will be hit as businesses choose to invest closer to the proposed service.

Consultants on the high speed project, KPMG, refute claims by HS2 supporters that the new service would help link the north of England and Scotland with the economically stronger south.

New figures recently released following a Freedom of Information request by HS2 Action Alliance have for the first time revealed the financial impact on parts of the country not on the main HS2 line.

The figures show the Borders stands to lose £8.92million of economic output per year.

“The KPMG report shows that Britain will have a two-tier economy if HS2 is built with areas close to the line gaining and many other areas losing out”, said Peter Chegwyn, Local Campaigns Director for the HS2 Action Alliance.

“KPMG admitted its report clearly shows the benefits of HS2 for some regions and the negative impacts it might have on others.

“In the space of a few weeks we’ve now seen two key reports by the Government and KPMG that have shown this area will lose out with a loss of economic output plus cuts to existing rail services to help pay for HS2.

“HS2 is very bad news for the Scottish Borders.”

He added: “The Scottish Borders has nothing to gain and everything to lose including local jobs.”

HS2 Action Alliance is calling on MPs and civic leaders to oppose HS2 as it threatens local jobs and economic security.

The HS2 Action Alliance believes such spokesmen should support moves to spend some of the £50 billion that HS2 will cost on other projects that benefit areas like Scotland more. There are so many better ways to spend £50 billion and so many alternatives that would benefit the Scottish Borders far more than HS2 ever will.

“It’s an HS2 ‘double whammy’ with the Borders a clear loser”, he concluded.