HS2 raises controversy on the campaign trail


Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has defended the six figure salaries of HS2 bosses suggesting they were needed to bring the top people to this country.

Speaking to a local paper in Wolverhampton, Mr McLoughlin was strident in his defence of the high salaries of more than 20 senior HS2 figures.

The secretary highlighted that the HS2 Ltd executives would be responsible for the tens of billions of planned investment in the controversial project.

‘Do I want the best engineers working on HS2? You bet I want the best engineers. Do they cost money? You bet they cost money,’ he said.

‘I'm glad they're working in this country and not some other country improving their infrastructure. And I'm glad we're improving ours.’

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Ukip leader Nigel Farage has reiterated his party’s vow to scrap HS2 if it wins power, adding that business leaders were primarily supporting the scheme to ‘gain lucrative contracts’.

He said: ‘There are elements of the business community who are for HS2 and they potentially see some quite lucrative contracts coming out of it and I don't blame them for that.

‘The arguments we've had for Manchester and Birmingham that HS2 would be good for them because of an increased connectivity to London - I don't buy that argument.

‘If you look at TGV in France and Lyon and Marseille connections, there's no doubt Paris was the main beneficiary - just as London will be here. ‘And secondly, we've asked questions from the start about the cost and this was confirmed by the House of Commons select committee report which said that, per mile of line, it's going to cost nine times what it has cost in France to do the same. There are still massive questions need asking.’

Mr Farage also said UKIP would not support toll roads and would open up the former section of M6 between Cannock and Coleshill to relieve traffic on the wider road network.

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