...and next boss is on track for an even bigger pay package!
THE next boss of HS2 could get paid more than their predecessor despite the project being severely curtailed, MPs were told yesterday.
Former HS2 chief Mark Thurston, who stepped down in September, was paid £676,000 in the last financial year, including a base salary of £635,814 and bonus of £39,958.
But Sir Jon Thompson, who is heading HS2 until a replacement is found, told the public accounts committee he has advised Government officials to offer an even
‘Earn more if targets are met’
higher pay deal. Quizzed about the search for a new chief executive, he said: ‘The only outstanding issue is the question of salary, which is currently with ministers.
‘My recommendation is that we change the reward structure so that it’s much more heavily incentivised towards meeting the schedule and delivering to the lowest possible cost. So it will be a lower base than Mr Thurston but there will be more opportunity to earn a higher salary if you meet all the necessary targets.’
HS2 has been lavishing an average of nearly £10million a year in pay on its top-earning directors. Mr Thurston’s pay alone surged by more than 9 per cent last year, taking it from £618,144 to £676,000.
It comes after rail minister Huw Merriman told Parliament that HS2’s latest cost projection for the London to Birmingham line could hit £57billion – up from £54billion previously. But he said the Government believed the route, now expected to open in 2033, could still be delivered for between £45billion and £54billion. n Millions of potholes will be filled in thanks to savings made by axeing HS2’s Birmingham to Manchester leg. Transport Secretary Mark Harper yesterday said £8.3billion will be spent resurfacing 5,000 miles of roads in the next 11 years.
It is part of Network North, which will plough the £36billion earmarked for HS2’s northern leg into other transport projects.