More than 40 staff working on the High Speed 2 rail link are on salaries of at least £150,000 a year, it has been revealed.
HS2 chief executive Simon Kirby is HS2 Ltd’s top earner and remains the UK’s highest-paid civil servant with a salary of £750,000 a year, while HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins earns £242,400 for working three days a week.
Managing director of infrastructure Jim Crawford earns nearly 15 times the UK average, taking a wage of £393,000 a year.
In total, 71 staff members working on Britain’s most expensive rail project earn salaries above £100,000 a year.
The wage bill for HS2 Ltd’s 626 staff is £37m, with the average wage at £58,809.
The details of the salaries were revealed by parliamentary undersecretary Robert Goodwill in a written answer to a question from Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham Cheryl Gillan.
The letter also said that of the 626 staff currently working for HS2 Ltd, 96 were based in Birmingham with the remaining 530 working from the company’s Canary Wharf offices in London.
An HS2 spokesman said: “We are determined to deliver HS2 on time and on budget. Investing in the right people now will allow us to reduce construction time and save money in the long term.”
The news comes as fears grow over the growing cost of Britain’s second high-speed rail line.
Earlier this month it was reported that the cost of HS2’s phase one was approaching £30bn, a third more than previously estimated.
The report in the Independent also claimed that the fulll cost of extending the project to Manchester could exceed £70bn.
Last week, contractors submitted PQQs as bidding for the £12bn-worth of civils packages for phase one of the project got under way.
HS2 runners and riders: See Construction News’ analysis on how the eight JVs bidding for HS2 civils work compare
The seven packages ranging between £900m and £1.5bn will be bid for by eight consortia consisting of many of the UK and Europe’s biggest construction firms.
The consortia will be invited to tender for the work next spring, with decisions on preferred bidders expected to be made in 2017.