Taxpayers to fork out additional £70,000 for Council’s ‘unlawful’ payments

Plaid Cymru politicians Jonathan Edwards MP and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM have today blasted the Labour-led County Council for exposing Carmarthenshire taxpayers to an additional cost of £70,000 for the Wales Audit Office public interest reports.

Information obtained by Plaid Cymru this week via the Freedom of Information Act confirmed that on top of the £55,000 of payments deemed ‘unlawful’ by the independent Auditor, the Council has racked up a bill of £15,000 for the legal services of QC Tim Kerr.  Not known yet are the costs of Mr Kerr’s attendance and services in the council’s extraordinary meeting on 27th February as this has not yet been billed.

But in a meeting of the Carmarthenshire Council’s Audit Committee today (Friday 28th March) councillors were informed that the authority would be facing an additional bill from the Wales Audit Office for its damning public interest reports and their associated costs.  This bill, the Wales Audit Office said, could be in the in the region of £70,000.

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards said Carmarthenshire residents are paying through the nose for the ‘unlawful’ actions of the Labour party running the county council.  His Assembly Member colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas said the severity of the bill is a direct result of the council leadership’s attempts to challenge the auditor’s findings.

 

MP Jonathan Edwards said:

“At a time when the Labour party running the county council is implementing Tory cuts and slashing services, Carmarthenshire residents are paying through the nose for the unlawful actions of the council leadership.

“A further cost of circa £70,000 because of the damning Wales Audit Office reports is a kick in the teeth to county residents who are fighting every day to protect their local services.

“The unlawful payments equated to over £55,000 and it appears that around £100,000 extra will be spent because of those actions.

“Quite frankly Carmarthenshire residents deserve better than this.  The Labour party in Carmarthenshire should be ashamed of its actions.  Labour councillors should be ashamed of their support for a political leadership which has wasted the best part of £150,000 of taxpayers’ money.”

 

Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas added:

“It would be fair to say that had the council leadership accepted the Auditor’s findings many months ago instead of engaging expensive legal teams at public expense, then the Wales Audit Office may not have needed to produce the two damning reports it did.

“I would therefore suggest that this extra £70,000 bill is a direct result of the council leadership’s attempts to challenge the auditor.  The consequences of the unlawful payments will cost more than the unlawful payments themselves.

“It seems the Labour party has not thought for one second about the cost to county taxpayers.  The council leadership has been more interested in covering its own back and trying to defend the indefensible.

“Plaid Cymru is on the side of Carmarthenshire residents who are fed up to the back teeth with the council leadership wasting public money.”

ENDS

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Notes to Editor:

 

Freedom of Information responses received:

The total cost to the authority for the services of Mr Tim Kerr QC for his legal advice on the Legality of Pay Supplement Policy dated 2nd September 2013: £11,395

The total cost to the authority for the services of Mr Tim Kerr QC for his legal advice on the Power to Indemnify dated 27th November 2013: £3,600

The total cost to the authority for Mr Tim Kerr QC for his attendance at the extraordinary meeting of the council on 27th February 2014 – this should include all charges to the authority including any hotel and travel expenses. NOT YET BILLED

 

2 Responses to “Taxpayers to fork out additional £70,000 for Council’s ‘unlawful’ payments” [latest first]

  1. Just another waste of tax payers money and it will all be swept under the carpet and nobody will be held accountable. This is why it keeps happening time time again and will carry on happening.

  2. The money should be taken from councilors pay and expenses

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