Original incorrect data
According to its website, the Independent Transport Commission is “wholly dependent upon financial support from donors”, and its funders include High Speed One Ltd, High Speed Two Ltd, and the Department for Transport. Which might explain transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s presence at the launch of the Commission’s “High heels and travelators” HS2 report in Leeds Town Hall.
In his speech to the ITC on 16 May, Mr McLoughlin said that HS2 “has always been about listening to people’s views”, and “most of the things I read are wholly inaccurate”.
Perhaps he meant to say, “most of the things I read out are wholly inaccurate”. Consider the evidence.
[Speech: High speed rail and connected cities,
From: Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP
First published: 17 May 2016]
[…] I know there have been various reports in the papers, about; whether HS2 is going ahead, whether it is going to Leeds and going to Manchester?
I can tell you today that it is going to Leeds and it is going to Manchester. Because we are totally committed to the whole of the high speed network.
Indeed, the HS2 project has always been about listening to people’s views, and continually improving.
At every stage we have listened, learned, and adapted to make HS2 the very best it can be.
[…] You’ll read various things in the newspapers: some of them are accurate but some of them are completely inaccurate; most of the things I read are wholly inaccurate.
In a previous speech, delivered on 11 September 2013, Mr McLoughlin suggested that ‘HS2 could mean ‘half a million fewer lorry trips a day on our main motorways’.
Some time after the ‘half a million fewer lorry trips a day’ misinformation was exposed on the Beleben blog, the Department for Transport put a note on the record of the speech, saying it had been amended to correct “original incorrect data”.
But the Department left other bogus claims from Mr McLoughlin unaltered. At the time of writing, the record of the 11 September 2013 speech still states that ‘£9 billion was spent upgrading the West Coast Main Line north of Rugby’, and that its ‘overhead wiring is getting on for 50 years old’.
Mr McLoughlin was also impressed enough by David Higgins’ expectation that the final cost of HS2 construction would be “significantly less” than £42.6 billion, to mention it in his speech.