Labour’s ‘full speed ahead’ approach to HS2 detracts from necessary ‘local rail revolution’, say Greens

Molly Scott Cato, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, has welcomed plans by Labour to restrict rail fare rises but accuses Labour of ‘tunnel vision’ over their continuing support for HS2.

Greens are calling for the £50bn project to be shelved and for the money to be spent on boosting regional rail and electrification, specifically in the Bristol area and across the South West. The party has also claimed that taking back the railways into public ownership would stop money ‘being wasted on shareholders profits’, saving an estimated £1.2bn a year and providing the opportunity to reduce fares by around 18%. Molly Scott Cato said:

“The Tories disastrous privatisation of our railways has left us with the most expensive railway system in Europe. Labour have finally jumped aboard, supporting our long-held policy of taking our railways back into public ownership. This will stop money being wasted on shareholders profits and offer the chance to reduce fares by a fifth.

“However, Labour are still showing tunnel vision when it comes to HS2. Their full speed ahead approach to this hugely expensive white elephant detracts from the local rail revolution we really need to see in Bristol and across the South West.

“We want the £50bn HS2 price tag spent on massively improving our regional and urban rail systems – electrifying lines, bringing in new rolling stock and making our stations accessible to all. We will also aim to make local public transport free for young people, students and people with disabilities.”

“Specifically in Bristol, money saved from not going ahead with HS2 could be used to fund the Henbury loop – which is a key ask for local rail infrastructure – and having a station at Ashton Gate to allow thousands of football fans to travel in a sustainable way.”