Westminster reports rejected

A series of independent reports which implicated solicitors at Westminster City Council in a £7m lessees bill blunder has been thrown out by councillors.

Councillors from both the minority Labour party and majority Conservative Party are unhappy with two reports from consultants which said a failure to bill leaseholders for repairs and maintenance over a six-year period was the fault of the housing, finance and legal departments.

At a committee meeting last Thursday both parties provisionally agreed to ask the district auditor to investigate the errors which cost the council £7m after it was found it could not legally recoup the costs.

During the meeting Labour leader and solicitor Andrew Dismore said staff were being made scapegoats for the actions of their political masters.

He claimed that the Conservative Party did not want the expensive lessees' bills sent out in 1992, an election period.

See Issues, page 13.