Monday, 9 December 2013

Invest in Energy Security 'First' and not HS2 as without the life-blood of any modern economy ELECTRICITY, we can do nothing including run HS2


The government is looking at the wrong investment for the UK with HS2. There are two main reasons for this, one unrelated directly but related indirectly in the long-run. 

1. It is the arterial routes that need substantial investment in and where if this $50 billion expenditure is spent on just HS2, these economic connections will suffer and therefore the overriding system will fail and not be fit-for-purpose. Using common-sense we have to deliver and connect the whole country, not just a few major cities. Indeed this will do little for the UK economy post HS2 in terms of the creation of new industries and jobs that we need in the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions if we think in terms of full-time jobs and not what we have now, many part-time and zero hour job contracts. Indeed it is the creation of new industries that we need and HS2 will not provide this. We have simply to put the horse before the cart and spend the £50 billion far, far more wisely. 

2. The primary consideration of government should be to invest first in our energy security and energy production that is under our own control. £50 billion should be invested in energy conversion from the sea as the UK is surrounded by it and has energy to release 24/7. Indeed electricity is the life-blood of any modern economy and HS2 cannot run without it. It is the chicken and the egg situation but where we need the power source first. If not, in another twenty-five years with our still reliance on foreign energy supplies, prices will be so prohibitive that the vast majority of the British people will not be able to pay.

Therefore government has to think in the long-term and not just a mere 20-years or slightly more. Indeed if government think like this, by the time HS2 is built, there will not be the energy around that is economically viable to run HS2 and only the very few will be able to afford the high rail fees that will prevail then, if by that time HS2 runs at all.
Therefore I would warn government about this plan which will create little benefit. It is a great pity that we have not a crystal ball, but common sense dictates that HS2 is a totally wrong investment and the £50 billion should be invested far, far more efficiently and innovatively. Look to the next 50-years government if you will and not simply mid-term thinking that will end up in no benefit but only further debt for the people of the UK. The writing is on the wall for the UK and this will not turn the economic tide that we shall all have to face unfortunately. Indeed with the economic storm that will prevail over the next 50 years, the 'city' and service industries will not be our salvation or economic security by a very great margin. It is therefore of primary consideration that we have energy security under 'our' own control and new technological industries that produce full-time jobs. HS2 is just therefore a 'blip' in the economic landscape and where we shall have to secure this elsewhere. This needs total and fundamental re-thinking by government but where unfortunately they never listen to logical and common-sense advice.

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation


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