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Highways Agency costs back under control, MPs told

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HIGHWAYS AGENCY spending was running out of control two years ago, a senior of. cial told MPs last week.

Group finance director Mel Zuydam said he had spent the last 18 months bringing costs under control, after a massive overspend in 2002 exposed weaknesses in the Agency's financial systems.

'Historically, I believe we did not have some of the most important records readily available, namely our monthly contract management and profit standing. So that really was the first and urgent area of focus, ' he said. 'But that is now in place.' Zuydam was one of Agency chief executive Archie Roberston's first appointments after he took over from Tim Matthews in November 2003.

Matthews was blasted by the Commons transport select committee after the Agency overspent by £314M in the 2001/2002 financial year.

'What we have done in the last year and a half is bring in better . ancial skills combined with the production of monthly, accurate and useful financial management information, ' said Zuydam.

Robertson said that the new approach was proving effective.

'Our record, at least of late with the A47 Thorney bypass and the M25 widening, is that they have been done to the budget agreed and ahead of the timetable that was set.'

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