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23 June 2020
Croydon spending almost half a million per month on legal bills

Croydon Council spent almost £5.5 million in fees for external legal advice in the year to May 2020, a Freedom of Information request submitted by Cllr Lynne Hale has revealed. 

That’s getting on for half a million pounds every month, which (we would guess) is not what residents are expecting when they hand over their hard-earned cash in council tax.

The areas of law the council is shelling out on varies from the necessary – legal costs of taking children into care, for example – to the positively frivolous – such as taking legal advice as to whether it was acceptable for the council to debate a Conservative motion questioning whether the long-delayed Westfield development was ever going to happen. 

Here's what has actually been spent, month by months:

June 2019 - £208,973

July 2019 - £619,992

August 2019 - £376,619

September 2019 - £451,021

October 2019 - £562,051

November 2019 - £428,769

December 2019 - £627,008

January 2020 - £480,589

February 2020 - £546,409

March 2020 - £586,059

April 2020 - £371,217

May 2020 - £218,303

Cllr Tim Pollard, Conservative Group Leader, says “For a council to be having to spend some money on legal bills is not particularly shocking these days. For it to be this much money really is. At least some of this money was spent frivolously, in trying to curtail residents’ right to question what is being done in their name. And you have to question whether better value couldn’t be had by having more in-house resource, rather than lining the pockets of big city firms. This does not look like good value for money.”

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