HS2 bosses are expected to spend £450m on outsourced consultancy and management work in the coming years it has emerged.
Hundreds of millions has already been spent on outside businesses and other organisations by the executive non-departmental public body, HS2 Ltd, in charge of the controversial project.
Last year a study by the TaxPayers’ Alliance found that five companies have been paid £192m between them from January 2011 and October 2013, including top consultants Arup which won £68.6m, and Atkins which won £30.8m.
Now the second phase of the route running from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds is being planned, up to £450m has been earmarked for advisers and management firms.
The firm that will manage all the building companies carrying out the work is in line for £300m, while HS2 Ltd spokesman Alastair Cowan told the Staffordshire Express and Star that between £75m and £150m was estimated as the cost of consultants.
‘They will help us put together the really detailed designs for phase two and advise us on issues like conservation,’ he said.
Around £10bn of contracts are currently up for grabs, including work in clearing sites, planning, design, and construction. Firms have until April 24 to express interest with short-listed contenders invited to bid in October.
HS2 commercial director Beth West said: 'To deliver Europe’s largest infrastructure project on time and on budget, we need to work closely with suppliers to ensure that sufficient planning is in place before the start of the formal procurement process.
'This will also benefit business, by giving them a head start to make the investments they require in recruitment, training and education to support the innovative ways of working we need to develop HS2.'
Stop HS2 campaign leader Joe Rukin told the paper: ‘It gets harder for me to keep saying this but it is unbelievable that so much money is being spent on a project that is not even close to being passed into law yet.’