Legal costs for the U.K. government’s HS2 rail project have hit record levels in the past year, with a handful of top firms cashing in on the mandates. 

Annual legal costs now stand at £7.5 million, according to the yearly account published this month. The figure is a 69% increase on last year’s total of £4.5 million and surpasses the previous highest year in 2018 of £6.8 million.