For immediate release
With High Speed 2 (HS2) closing applications for a new chair in 3 weeks, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) are putting forward a candidate to represent taxpayers’ interests.
If offered the position, TPA candidate Harry Fone would cut down waste and then scrap the project, after Freedom of Information requests compiled by the TPA found that the quango spent over £2.5 million on business travel (including private cars) and office furniture. According to HS2’s annual accounts, fees for its board members also cost £324,000 per year, despite meeting only once per month. Harry Fone has committed to refuse the chair’s annual £200,000 remuneration.
Having long campaigned for HS2 to be scrapped, the latest estimates show the project could cost taxpayers close to £170 billion. The campaign organisation is using this media stunt to call on ministers to end the wasteful status quo and get costs under control.
Examples of HS2 waste:
- TPA FOIs revealed HS2 spent over £2.5 million on various business expenses in 2019.
Travel expenses were £2.5 million, including over £64,000 on private cars. It means the cost of business travel was almost £50,000 a week.
- Furnishing HS2 offices cost over £130,000 that same year - more than double the cost of furniture in 2018.
- HS2 Ltd’s annual accounts reveal that fees for HS2 board members totalled £324,000 in 2019-20. Former chair Allan Cook received the majority at £266,770.
Harry Fone, candidate for chair of HS2 Ltd and grassroots campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"It’s clear that HS2 bosses have long embarked on a wasteful spending binge.
“My first act as chair would be to cut back unnecessary expenses before terminating the project, in the interests of British taxpayers.
“HS2 must be stopped before it comes off the rails.”
TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Notes to editors:
Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at www.taxpayersalliance.com.
TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.
Infrastructure expert Michael Byng has estimated the final cost of HS2 at £170 billion.
The TaxPayers' Alliance launched The Great British Transport Competition to find alternative transport infrastructure projects that deliver better value for money.
- Click here to see the HS2 chair job listing.