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20/04/2011
Rail link could cost Northampton taxpayers £102m


Please read the Northampton Chronicle & Echo report at http://tinyurl.com/3fczvr8

NORTHAMPTON taxpayers could pay out £102 million for the Government’s proposed high speed rail link, campaigners have claimed.

Action Groups Against HS2 (AGHAST), which are campaigning against the London to Manchester and Leeds route which would slice through south Northamptonshire, came up with the figure after examining figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Campaigners claim that by dividing the £30 billion cost estimate for the line and the expected subsidy from taxpayers of over £17 billion, it will amount to over £1,000 for every household in the country and collectively cost £102 million for Northampton residents.

Jerry Marshall, chairman of AGHAST said: “At a time of deep public sector cuts in Northampton it is obscene that local people are being asked to subsidise travel for mainly wealthy travellers, with no obvious benefit for local taxpayers.

“The Department for Transport is ignoring far more affordable alternatives to high speed rail which offer much better value for money, would benefit ordinary people, and genuinely tackle the north-south divide.”

Jamie Dunning spokesman for SNAG, South Northamptonshire Action Group against HS2, which believes an alternative rail improvement scheme called rail package two would better serve the county, said: “It would provide four times the capacity at half the cost and it would be ready in a quarter of the time.”

Northampton South MP Brian Binley, who is chairman of the Northampton Rail Users’ Group, rubbished the claims. He said: “These figures are totally misleading. The West Coast Main Line which we join at Milton Keynes is full to bursting point and there is no better way of dealing with this problem than HS2.”

 

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