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Revealed | HS2 spent £60M on agency staff in last two years

High speed 2 hs2 1

HS2 Ltd has spent £60.2M on agency staff in the last two years, it has been revealed.  

Updated transparency figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that £60M was been spent on addtional staff who were not on HS2 Ltd’s books.  

These include specialist contractors, engineers and procurement experts to supplement HS2 Ltd’s full time staff. The figures relate to the two year period from July 2016 to July 2018.  

Agency personnel are those on working on short term contracts.

Most of the money was spent between July 2016 and June 2017, when agency staff cost HS2 Ltd £39.8M. In the following year – July 2017 to July 2018 – an additional £20.4M was spent on extra staff.  

Across the two years, £3.4M was spent bringing in procurement experts to work on construction contracts and corporate deals.  

Agency staff working in land and property roles cost the firm £2.3M as HS2 Ltd. went about purchasing land along the route.

A HS2 ltd spokesperson said that the project needed a wide range of skills and services.

“HS2 is the largest infrastructure project in Europe. In order to deliver a project of this size, we need to draw on a wide range of specialist skills and services. HS2 has already supported over 7,000 jobs with more than 2,000 businesses of all sizes benefiting.”

Despite drafting in land and property experts, HS2 Ltd has been accussed of purposefully undervaluing the cost of acquiring property. Former HS2 Ltd head of property Doug Thornton said that MPs approved plans which underestimated the value of necessary property acquisition by “hundreds of millions”, in an interview with BBC’s Panorama programme.

Thornton claimed the value of private properties was underestimated by up to £200,000 while underestimates of the value of some larger properties could run onto millions of pounds. 

HS2 Ltd rejected claims that MPs were purposefully misled about the cots of using external staff. A spokesperson said it had followed the correct process to keep Parliament updated on budgetary changes.

The DfT figures also show that an additional £300,000 was spent on temporary building information modelling (BIM) specialists.

The data also revealed that temporary staff from consultant Mott MacDonald earned £120,000 working in land and property roles as well as route engineering for phase 2b. Temporary contractors from Mace also netted £160,000 working on commerical agreements.

The biggest earner was recruitment and design consultant Morson Interational, which earned £3M in agency staff costs for workwhich included phase 1 logistics and BIM work. 

The information was released as part of a wider DfT publication detailing department transactions over £500. 

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