More than £100,000 of taxpayers’ money has been spent by two authorities in the West Midlands – to both promote and fight against controversial high-speed rail.
Transport authority Centro has ploughed £48,000 into Go-HS2, which is promoting the £42.6 billion project and its benefits to the region.
And Staffordshire County Council, which opposes the line, has spent exactly the same amount putting together proposals to mitigate the effect of the route.
It has also allocated £5,000 each for councillors in communities affected by the route to inform residents of what is happening.
The figure has been revealed as Chancellor George Osborne announced that he was ‘passionate’ about the project.
The Go-HS2 group comprises West Midlands transport authority Centro, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, the NEC Group, Birmingham Future and Business Birmingham.
Go-HS2 spokesman Richard Lakin said: “As the region’s transport authority our work is focused on ensuring the local network can best connect and feed into high speed rail in order for us to reap the maximum economic benefits for the West Midlands.
“Since February 2011, Centro’s cost incurred for Go-HS2 activity has been £48,000.”
Meanwhile specialists at Staffordshire County Council also spent £48,000 in the last financial year putting together proposals for mitigation of the route.
But it said around £15,000 of that would be recouped from HS2 Ltd.
HS2 is set to cut a swathe through Staffordshire, leading to opposition from county residents, while national business leaders have referred to it as a ‘grand folly’ due to soaring costs.
Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said: “We are supporting local communities to help lessen the impact and are championing the cause for fair and timely compensation.
“Of course, this does come at some cost, and where we can we will be recouping this from HS2 Ltd, but we do have to balance our commitment to support affected communities with funding other priorities for the county’s taxpayers.”