HS2 bosses' £46k bill branded a disgrace
A £700 office chair, 30 iPad cases at £20 each and £600 to hire a room are among the £46,000 spent by HS2 bosses in six months.
Some £2,241 was also shelled out on 300 memory sticks for staff from May to October last year.
The claims have sparked accusations that bosses of the £50bn project are on a 'gravy train' and campaigners have branded the expenditure 'a disgrace' when not a single yard of track has yet been laid.
Details of money spent during the six months have been released by HS2 bosses in a bid to make the whole process more transparent.
Some £1,198 was shelled out for one worker to attend a two-day conference.
Other claims include £512 for two members of staff to go on an overseas conference for two nights, and £592 on the hire of a conference room at a Hilton hotel for half a day.
The ergonomic chair cost £723.70 in September, though no other details are given about the purchase.
HS2 chiefs have defended the figures and say they try to keep costs as low as possible.
In total, £11,511.14 was splashed out on staff training, and £10,315.88 on conferences and meeting room hire.
And the cancellation of a room booking at The Queens Hotel in London cost £787.50.
Two workers went on a Life Club 'booster day' at a cost of £590.
Some £1,764 was also paid for the use of the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud for 10 people.
It emerged last year that HS2 had already spent £300 million on outside businesses in less than three years – including £10 million to employment agencies and £1.2 million on public relations and parliamentary lobbying companies.
The line from Birmingham to London would cut through swathes of the Staffordshire countryside.
Stop HS2 chairman Penny Gaines said: "They are spending money like water. This is a £50bn waste of money and it seems that instead of using the cash to sort out the details of the second phase of the route in the north of England they are using up the budget on things like this."
Ben Ruse, HS2 spokesman said: "HS2 will be delivered on budget and on time. We constantly assess our priorities to maintain a ruthless focus on driving down costs. We delivered well within our budget for 2014/15 and we fully expect to do the same within the current financial year.
"As passenger numbers continue to grow on our main rail arteries, we need to create more space on the network for more trains. The new railway will provide unprecedented levels of opportunity for growth, jobs, and skills along the route of HS2 and beyond."
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