More than £100,000 a month has been spent on spinning the ‘flawed’ HS2 project, new figures have revealed.
HS2 Ltd, the taxpayer-funded company set up to develop the line, spent £1,083,662 in 10 months on PR and external relations.
The figures were revealed in a study by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which found that more than £300 million was paid to contractors in less than three years, before a single track has been laid.
The HS2 hybrid bill, essentially the planning application for the first leg of the line, which would cut through Aylesbury Vale, is currently passing through Parliament.
According to the figures the majority of the money, which was paid out between January 2011 to October 2013, has gone to just five companies.
Engineering and design consultancy Arup was paid £68,567,229, a total of £35,747,165 went to Atkins, which do similar work, and another consultancy, ERM, received £30,754,670.
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said HS2 had ‘embarked on a wasteful spending binge at taxpayers’ expense’.
Mr Isaby said: “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.”
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said money was being ‘poured down the drain in an uncontrollable fashion’.
Mr Rukin said: “We have always known that HS2 is being driven by those with vested interests, and every line of expenditure stinks of jobs for the boys with an ever-increasing number of snouts in an ever-expanding trough.”
HS2 Ltd spokesman Ben Ruse said: “HS2 will be delivered on budget and on time.
“We constantly assess our priorities to maintain a ruthless focus on driving down costs.
“We delivered well within our budget for 2012/2013 and we fully expect to do the same within the current financial year.
“As passenger numbers continue to grow on our main north-south rail arteries, we need to create more space on the network for more trains.
“The new railway will provide unprecedented levels of opportunity for growth, jobs and skills along the route of HS2 and beyond.”