Wednesday 3 August 2011

Cynical Conservatives Spent Thousands More On Legal Fees Fighting Parents Than On The Children’s Service They Were Trying To End

Cllr. PJ Murphy (Lab) uncovered how H&F Council
wasted thousands of pounds fighting parents
campaigning for children's centers
Councillor PJ Murphy (Lab) has forced officials at H&F Council to come clean and admit they spent £67,480.00 on legal fees unsuccessfully trying to stop parents challenging the Conservative Administration’s decision to all but end the Sure Start programme at the Cathnor Park Children’s Centre.

Earlier this year H&F Conservatives slashed the £455,000.00 annual budget for the Cathnor Park centre to just £19,000.00 as part of their overall £3.4 million cuts programme to all the Borough’s children’s centres. After much local anger they then said they would raise the Cathnor Park centre’s funding to £50,000.00. However it now turns out H&F Council spend nearly £20,000.00 more than this trying to fight a Judicial Review of their decision by local parents determined to show the injustice of H&F Conservatives' controversial decision.

On 1st July, Mr. Justice Collins indicated that the parents had an arguable case and told the Conservative run local authority that its actions maybe unlawful. H&F Council capitulated and gave in to parents demands.

The costs of our Council’s futile legal endeavour break down as follows:
  • H&F Council’s in-house legal fees £25,848.00
  • Court fees of £80.00
  • Counsel’s fees £41,552.00
Many local residents will be astonished that the Administration chose to waste nearly £70,000.00 of tax payers’ money fighting local parents in the High Court while leaving the majority of the Borough’s other children’s centres each with only £19,000.00 to run severely scaled down children's services.

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