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HS2 slammed as ‘runaway gravy train’ after spending £280m on consultants despite pledge to crack down


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HS2 has spent over £280million on consultants in the last seven years despite pledging to limit its reliance on them.

The government-owned company has paid over £200million to the Big Four consulting firms.

They have paid £102million to PwC, £86million to Deloitte, £25million to Ernst & Young and given £9million to KPMG.

Alongside these payments, HS2 has also used 76 other companies since 2016, according to Tussell, the public contract website.

WATCH NOW: Will the Manchester leg be scrapped?

A source in the rail industry said the plan had become a “runaway gravy train whose loudest supporters are those trousering the cash”.

The Government-owned project had promised to spend less on external consultants and contractors.

A view of construction work for HS2The HS2 project is facing further delaysPA

Dr David Crosthwaite, from the Building Cost Information Service, said: “We’ve just had the delivery of a massively delayed and over budget project — Crossrail. You would think they would learn from their mistakes but they don’t.

”Decades ago, there was the public works department that essentially had responsibility for costing business case development and everything to do with delivering public projects.

“But that was in a completely different era and no longer exists. So, the capability is not in-house, meaning they have to go out to consultants who are going to charge whatever they can get away with.”

Penny Gaines, Chairwoman of Stop HS2 compared the project to a gravy train.

“Over the last few days, organisations who directly benefit from the construction of HS2, or will have HS2 stations on their doorsteps, have seen the likelihood of cancellation and they’ve come out desperately fighting for the government to continue to build HS2,” she said.

An engineer in a HS2 hi-vis jacketHS2 has faced further delaysPA

Gaines said that such organisations want to “snaffle the money up, with their snouts in the trough of taxpayer’s money”.

A source at HS2 said that the amount spent on consultants was only one per cent of the total amount spent on the project so far.

As much as £24.7billion has been spent on HS2 so far.

Rishi Sunak has refused to say whether the rail line will run to Manchester, generating speculation that the second leg of the journey might be scrapped.

He said: “When I speak to people when I’m at home or anywhere else around, what everyone tells me is that you’ve got to make it easier to get around all our northern towns and cities, whether it’s Hull, York, Leeds, Sheffield, all the way over to Liverpool. Connecting all those cities up is really important and we’re doing that.”

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Written by: radioroxi

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