A new statement made by MPs states that the unauthorized redundancy of payments registered by the state-owned company which is in charge of managing the new HS2 rail project is a colossal waste of “taxpayers’ money”.
According to records, the company made the payments in the period from 2016-17 after transferring nearly 94 members of its staff from London to Birmingham.
In a statement made after the events came to light, the MPs blamed “weak internal processes” at HS2 which allowed overpayments to those 94 staff members. All in all, reports state that the expense totaled up to almost £1.76m.
Statements from the Public Accounts Committee stated that the firm overseeing the construction had spent “well in excess” of all authorized levels.
Reacting to the allegations, an HS2 spokesperson admitted that “a serious error” had been made.
Agreeing to speak anonymously, an MP on the committee stated that it was the combination of the compulsory and voluntary redundancy schemes, offered on enhanced terms which resulted in such a large bill.
The MP added that the expense was more worrying considering the fact that the Department of Transport had issued explicit instructions stating the statutory rates which would be incurred on any payments exceeding £1m.
The MP report stipulated that HS2’s CEO at the time of the expenditure, Simon Kirby, received a detailed email from the government dictating that he was banned from offering his staff larger, more enhanced redundancy payments when the firm relocated.
The report claims that Kirby kept the information to himself and did not pass it on to anyone.
However, Kirby, who is currently employed by Rolls Royce, retaliated saying he was not the approving authority behind the generous severance packages.