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HS2 costs reflect project ramp up

High Speed Rail 2by3

High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2 Ltd) has tripled its spending from the last financial year as it ramps up and moves into an operational phase of the project.

In its annual financial statement it stated that “other expenditure” which includes professional services, communication and information technology and accommodation costs had risen from £21.9M to £71.6M.

The project has been rapidly expanding in the lead up to gaining Royal Assent in February this year and has now started signing contracts for major packages of work as the enabling works start to shape the project.

Staff numbers (averaged across the year) rose from 918 to 1,292 with the total wages rising from £79.5M to £119.1M as a result. Staff costs increased from £11.9M the previous year to £30M.

There were no notable pay rises for the full time directors of the HS2 board from 2015 / 2016 to 2016 / 2017 financial years. Executive board member Alison Munro had the biggest percentage pay rise from earning £157,004 to £158,873 representing a 1.2% increase.

Chief financial officer Steve Allen remained on £415,000 and non-executive chair Sir David Higgins remained on £240,000 for his contracted three days a week.

Ex-chief executive and accounting officer Simon Kirby had an annual salary of £750,000 but was replaced by Mark Thurston on a salary almost a third less than his predecessor at £535,000.

Notable faces which left the organisation last year include commercial director Beth West, programme development director Stuart Westgate and programme and strategy director Alistair Kirk.

HS2 Ltd has been contacted for a comment.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Wages are interesting, £119.1M on 1,292 staff, that's an average of £92,183 per member of staff.

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