Government calls its HS2 compensation package ‘generous’ – we think it’s stingy

The HomeOwners Alliance says that the Government’s current offer of a maximum of 10% of the property value, with payments capped at £47,000 does not seem fair.

The Government is to offer homeowners affected by HS2 up to 10% of the value of their home as compensation if they are forced to sell. The offer comes with numerous restrictions on who can claim it, and there is an upper limit of £47,000. It is also only triggered once parliament approves HS2. The thousands of people whose houses have been made unsaleable just by the announcement of the government’s plans currently get nothing (unless they can prove exceptional hardship).

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said in a letter to the Transport Secretary: “The UK Government’s meanness on compulsory purchase compensation is not just an insult to thousands of homeowners, but it is also ultimately self-defeating. By failing to recognise the real cost of being forced to move home, it ensures that homeowners along the HS2 route will feel they have no option but to do everything they can to block the new train line.”

In the US, the Government forcibly taking someone’s home is seen as the most fundamental violation by the state of an individual’s rights, and the non-stop subject of emotional national debate. In France, the government takes a practical view and offers such generous compensation that people are glad to move. The Government is more likely to realise its plans if it does what the French do, and just buy off the opposition of those most directly affected. And that means compensation of at least 25%.”

The government is currently consulting on these compensation arrangements, with a closing date of 31st January.  Click here for our letter to the Secretary of State for Transport

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