As with many on their commute to work, I end up with my head buried in the Metro, hoovering up the bite-sized news chunks and cracking a smile at how much Nemi reminds me of myself. This morning, however, what I normally consider a light hearted read got me quite angry and the snarl on my face is yet to leave.
A story on page four claimed the consultants employed by government to establish how much the high speed two (HS2) rail project was set to cost have pocketed £500m of taxpayer’s money as their fee. What’s more, these are the same bozos that were hired to estimate the cost of the Olympic Games, something they underestimated by more than £6bn.
Of course as a taxpayer, this makes me furious, but it is the continual eye watering figures associated with HS2 that are getting to me and how the government still refuses to redirect funds.
This latest one of £500m is just £30m less than the government first allocated to the BDUK project. It is madness that the Coalition is paying almost as much to consultants deciding on the monies needed for HS2 than it initially committed to broadband roll-out which, I know I have said it before but I will say it again, in the digital age we live, is arguably a far more important infrastructure project.
Anyone who reads my blog knows I am on somewhat of a crusade to get all the details published around the BDUK roll-out. The completion date is being put back time and time again, now until 2017, whilst local authorities are dragging their heels and one telecoms provider is being allowed to monopolise the entire project.
Money may not solve everything but there is no doubt in my mind; more funding for BDUK would have led to a faster roll-out. Instead we are pouring billions into a railway line we don’t need and pricing consultants that can’t even do their sums properly.
Please George Osborne, I beg you, re-examine your budget and realise this is a false economy. Start investing now where we need it most so UK businesses can thrive and this growth you claim the country has again will become more solid and believable.
Just don’t get me started on how much they are spending on Trident…