Watchdog’s chief says HS2 ‘fell short of the behaviour required’ with payments that breached civil service cap

Fears that high-speed rail project HS2’s £55.7bn budget could spiral higher have been underlined by an audit showing unauthorised redundancy payments to staff, far above the government cap on payouts.

HS2 Ltd, the publicly funded company building Britain’s new high-speed rail network, spent £2.76m on payoffs in 2016, of which only £1m was authorised, according to the National Audit Office.

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