Dear Editor, On October 11, I attended the city’s Older People’s Reference Group where Coun Sue Anderson gave an update on changes in the services affecting older people. She made it clear that further cuts will need to be made and we could participate in saying where these could be.

I found this difficult to take on board when I know the city has spent money unnecessarily on promoting High Speed Rail. The city’s website states “Following the national consultation, the Government will decide whether to go ahead with HS2, making an announcement around the end of 2011.”  Wouldn’t responding to the consultation have been enough?

But Coun Whitby in his presentation of the State of the City Report spoke of it as something already in place, ie “we are creating a sophisticated transport hub at the heart of the country – with a transport infrastructure that befits a global destination”. In the list of achievements he referred to High Speed Rail as “the icing on the cake” – with no suggestion the decision was in the balance. The battle over High Speed Rail is far from won. With the announcement by the Government that motorway speeds will be raised to 80mph this will have serious implications for the High Speed Rail calculations as many are based on comparisons with the present 70mph. What effect will this have on the Benefit Cost Ratio?

I have seen a paper amongst the evidence submitted and published by the Transport Select Committee which “questions the validity of the model used to support the proposed High Speed Rail, and demonstrates that the benefits derived from its construction will be outweighed by its cost, at best giving only 70p back for every £1 spent”.

More money down the drain?

(HSR written submissions 198 )

Jill Hoad

Sutton Coldfield