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Critics blast levels of spending on controversial HS2 rail scheme

The Government has “poured money down the drain” in the name of HS2, according to critics of the scheme.

According to a study by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, £302million has been paid to external agencies between January 2011 and October 2013.

Around £170million of that was spent in the first ten months of 2013 alone, according to the report into the controversial scheme, which is set to see the line cut through parts of Lichfield and the surrounding villages.

A graphic mock-up of the HS2 line

A graphic mock-up of the HS2 line

Joe Rukin, campaign manager for the Stop HS2 group, said the figures showed a worrying trend of waste.

“The amount of money which HS2 Ltd spent is staggering and clearly represents tax-payers money being poured down the drain in an uncontrollable fashion,” he said. “It is no surprise now that Government needed the blank cheque for development work which their Paving Act gave them last year.

“Just to show how useless HS2 Ltd really are, they are paying over £100,000 per month on PR, yet the project gets more unpopular by the day. It doesn’t matter how much cash is thrown at promoting HS2, it will always be a vanity project no matter how hard people making a fast buck try and spin it.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance, who are behind the study, say spending needs to be brought under control urgently, describing the current levels as “disgusting”.

“It’s clear that bureaucrats in charge of delivering HS2 have embarked on a wasteful spending binge at taxpayers’ expense,” he said. “Such lax spending controls are symptomatic of a rail project that is terrible value for money and being driven by vested interests, not those of taxpayers.

“It’s disgusting that so much taxpayers’ cash has been wasted on spinning and lobbying for the flawed scheme.

“Not even a million-pound PR bill will change the fact that HS2 is a white elephant that will cost every family in the UK a fortune and fail to deliver on its grandiose and unrealistic promises.”

“It’s particularly troubling to see HS2 Ltd throwing money at its cheerleaders. Despite numerous attempts to make its numbers add up, hard-pressed families haven’t been duped into backing the line.

“It’s time to scrap this costly project before any more taxpayers’ money is poured down the drain.”

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