HS2 salaries 'obscene' says MEP

'Obscene' salaries for officials working on the controversial HS2 rail scheme have been condemned by a West Midlands MEP.

MEP Jill Seymour
MEP Jill Seymour

Jill Seymour from UKIP hit out at the plan to give as many as 30 new members of staff more pay than the Prime Minister, who gets £142,500 a year.

Sir David Higgins, boss of the High Speed Two rail project company, revealed the salary plans last week.

And Transport Secretary Patrick Mc Loughlin said he was 'OK' with the proposal, insisting it was 'absolutely essential' to get the right calibre of people.

But Mrs Seymour, the newly elected UKIP MEP who will be sitting on the European Union's transport committee, said: "It is obscene to be spending so much money in the first place on HS2, which will be of little or no benefit to the majority of people in our country.

"To then start employing bureaucrats on these fat-cat salaries, at a time when the UK still has to borrow huge sums to make ends meet, is obscene. It is rubbing salt into the wounds."

Mrs Seymour described HS2 as a 'white elephant' which should be scrapped, with the estimated £50 billion used instead for improving the existing rail and public transport infrastructure.

The first phase of HS2, between London and Birmingham, is due for completion in 2026, with a second Y-shaped section from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds due in 2033.

Phase one of HS2 will cut through 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside, while phase two passes through the county town of Stafford and surrounding villages, impacting on 27 wildlife sites.

Mrs Seymour said: "HS2 isn’t for the benefit of the West Midlands. It is being built for the benefit of London. Why should local people be subsidising the six-figure salaries of people who will be bulldozing the plans through?

"The coalition has repeatedly said that no public servants should be paid more than the Prime Minister, so this is a lame climb-down, and case of outrageous double-standards."

She added: "You certainly don’t need to draft in high-earning officials to identify the kind of improvements needed on our existing transport network.

"Campaigners have been spelling it out for years, only for their pleas to fall on deaf ears.

"They are the people who know what is needed for the West Midlands transport infrastructure, and it is certainly not HS2, nor faceless bureaucrats earning more money than our Prime Minister."

Mrs Seymour has also criticised what she called the ‘undemocratic’ distribution of power on European parliament committees.

The European Green Party have backed UKIP's claim that they are are being 'denied' committee chairmanship despite winning the largest number of MEPs in May's elections.

Mrs Seymour said: “Given the level of support which we received from the electorate – not just in the UK but across many other parts of Europe too – we feel we are being unfairly frozen out."

Comments for: "HS2 salaries 'obscene' says MEP"

charlie17

Totally agree with Mrs Seymour of UKIP, no Civil Servant should be paid more than £150,000 a year and that would be for the top job only. It is not just because the country cannot afford these high salaries for, what are in effect civil servants, the majority of the money comes from taxes paid by people earning considerably less than £50,000 a year. The problem is that the London clique think that only people living in London can do these jobs when in fact far better talent is available north of Watford and they do not expect this sort of salary.

norman

I totally agree with many comments,there are many excessively overpaid jobs,funded by the tax payers,850,000 pa for the mobility boss being another.My main concern being,how many of these overpaid people feel obliged to make large donations to the Tory party as a big thank you.Which would put the tax payers whether they like it or not,supporting the Tory party

Chr1s23

Expensive white elephant.

More cash in the pockets of the already super rich Cameron buddies.

UKIP starting to make sense - and shouting about it!

Bring on the election!

middley

Where is my original comment, it was there one minute and gone the next !

middley

I will try again, So the salaries, free jollies, expenses, second homes, are not obscene and massive pay rises are justified then ? and that's just MEP's and M.P's People in glass houses me thinks my dear. Let's see if this one get's in unless the adjudicator is a UKIP voter.

HertsBoy

Yes those criticism of the EU and HS2 are both fair. Indeed some people think HS2 is only to be built as a part of an EU fast rail network. And we know this coalition government support the EU.

All critics however should check they are fire proof so UKIP and Greens had better make sure their recruitment and pay/performance policies all stack up.

Happy1

It would be helpful if we had a breakdown of what could be done to improve the existing railway network with the same budget as HS2 + associated benefits to communities.

The Growlery

The politicians are keeping very quiet about the worst aspect of HS2 - Curzon Street. People who live in the West Midlands and opt to travel to London via HS2 will have to get off their local train at New Street and then take themselves - and their luggage - and their children via travolater, taxi or whatever, to Curzon Street station where HS2 services will depart from.

If one allows 10-15 minutes for this, and arriving say 10 minutes before departure time, will HS2 be faster or slower than the current Virgin service? The answer is that there'll be precious little in it.