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Salary of HS2 chairman is 'obscene', says Pickmere stud owner
A PROPRIETOR of an award-winning stud in Pickmere believes the government is ‘out of touch’ after it was announced that HS2’s new chairman would receive a salary of £591,000.
Network Rail chief executive Sir David Higgins is to take over as chairman of the £50bn project next year following the resignation of Doug Oakervee.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said the appointment ‘ensures that we will continue to have leaders at the heart of HS2 who have a track record of delivery’, but stud farmer John Keleher believes the appointed salary is ‘obscene’.
“It proves that the government is totally out of touch with the mood of the people because at a time when we are being told to make cuts and austerity measures, when people are using food banks and struggling to pay their mortgage, we get a chap that’s being paid £591,000 a year,” said John, who owns Pickmere Stud with Pat Mather.
“It seems unbelievable that the government can sanction such a large amount to somebody whose job is to save a project that no one wants and that everybody says won’t work.
“It is an obscene amount of money – you are looking at around £1,000 a day.
“You could feed 50 families on £1,000 a day and I think the majority of people would be absolutely disgusted at this figure.”
John and Pat were left devastated when news broke in January that the proposed route of HS2 would take it directly through their business.
“I and many hundreds of others are due to lose our livelihoods for HS2,” added John, who is also secretary of recently formed Cheshire Against HS2.
“Thousands of people along the line of the track won’t benefit from HS2 and we are just going to be paid the minimum plus 10 per cent for our inconvenience.
“Thousands of people suffering property blight won’t get any money at all for 20 years and yet he gets £591,000 a year.
“It just doesn’t bear thinking about.”
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