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Quarter of HS2 workers on pay deals over £100k

Sky News logo Sky News 08/08/2018
Undated handout file image issued by HS2 of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme. Troubled construction giant Carillion is among the firms awarded contracts for the building of phase one of the HS2 rail line, the Government has announced © PA Undated handout file image issued by HS2 of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme. Troubled construction giant Carillion is among the firms awarded contracts for the building of phase one of the HS2 rail line, the Government has announced

Almost one in every four HS2 employees are being paid more than £100,000 a year, it has been revealed.

The news comes despite the government insisting it is "keeping a tough grip" on the cost of the controversial project.

Some 318 people - out of the 1,346 employed on the new high-speed railway - are earning at least £100,000 in salary and perks, according to a information given to The Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

This number is up on the 155 who were paid this amount in 2015-16, the newspaper said.

Some 112 people are receiving more than £150,000 annually and 15 have pay packets topping £251,000.

An HS2 Ltd spokeswoman said: "In a highly technical project of the scale and complexity of HS2 it is necessary to employ the right level of expertise and knowledge to deliver the programme successfully.

"As the project moves increasingly towards construction, as does our need for highly technical support increase.

This is how the Government wants HS2 to be extended beyond Birmingham © Other This is how the Government wants HS2 to be extended beyond Birmingham

"HS2 Ltd is committed to controlling costs and take our responsibility to taxpayers money very seriously, and the programme remains on track and within our funding envelope."

The pay figures include salaries, bonuses and pensions contributions.

It was also reported that the company spent more than £600m on consultants in the most recent financial year, more than double the amount spent the previous year.

The £55.7bn project has already angered environmentalists who are worried about potential damage to the land, as well as various critics attacking the delays and ballooning cost.

A Government spokesman said: "We are keeping a tough grip on costs and the HS2 project remains on budget at £55.7bn.

"As the future backbone of our national rail network, HS2 is vital for delivering better connections between our major cities with faster and more frequent services, acting as a catalyst for jobs, housing and economic growth.

In Pictures: The world's most expensive megaprojects with eye-watering price tags (Provided by: lovemoney)

"As this significant project moves towards construction, it is essential that HS2 Ltd continues to increase its workforce, attracting the world-class skills and expertise necessary to deliver the project successfully."

The first phase of the high-speed railway will open between London and Birmingham in December 2026.

Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will begin in 2027, followed by Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds, in 2033.

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