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HS2 rail project employs 167 PR staff, FOI request reveals

Troubled rail project HS2 has 167 staff in its PR department, costing £8million a year, according to a Freedom of Information request by The Sun.

The total budget last year for HS2 Ltd’s Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Directorate hit £8,086,998 last year according to the figures, dropping slightly this year to £7,889,489.

The paper claims that 84 staff work in community engagement at the publicly-owned company, which is due to bring a high-sped rail link between London, Birmingham and Manchester, although its future is currently in doubt, to put it mildly, amidst rumours the Northern leg to Manchester will be cancelled.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “We have a parliamentary obligation to comprehensively engage with communities affected by construction. This accounts for most of the costs.”

PM Rishi Sunak has still declined to comment on whether the Manchester leg of HS2 will be axed as his party’s conference gets underway in the city. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, meanwhile, told this morning’s Breakfast With Kay Burleigh on Sky News that we will “have to wait.”

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