COUNCILLORS last night agreed a formal motion calling for the government to spend money set aside for HS2 on helping flood victims in the West Country.

Members of Chiltern District Council said in their motion it would be 'obscene' if funds for the controversial railway project were not used instead on the restoration of infrastructure in flood-hit communities.

Cllr Alan Hardie, who proposed the motion, said parts of the West Country had been "reduced to Third World status" by the floods.

Leader Nick Rose added: "It's staggering we've had ministerial visits to the West Country saying there's no shortage of money, we'll pay whatever it takes - but whatever it takes is just the clear-up, it doesn't restore the infrastructure.

"We've got an opportunity for massive regeneration and all we're going to do is squander an absurd amount of money on a vanity project for fat businessmen to get to Birmingham ten minutes quicker."

Cllr David Meacock was the only councillor not to vote in favour of the motion yesterday.

An amendment to change the wording of the motion to say government should 'scrap' HS2 rather than simply reconsider the proposals was put forward by Cllr Seb Berry, who felt it would make the message from councillors even stronger.

Although members supported the principle, the proposed amendment was defeated by 23 votes to nine.