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Westminster City Council

November 16, 2001

Question written on 16/11/2001

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what has been the cost to public funds of the Westminster Auditor’s inquiry into Westminster city council’s designated sales policy for the period since 30 April

Answered by Alan Whitehead

We are advised by the Audit Commission that the auditor’s costs for the investigation, up to and including the publication of his report in 1996, was 3,017,905, which has been met by Westminster city council.The Commission has a responsibility to indemnify the auditor for the cost of any proceedings resulting from such investigations. Under the indemnity the Commission had met, up to 30 April 1999, costs of 2,997,000 incurred by the auditor, his solicitor and barrister, in relation to the inquiry. The total litigation costs, including those of some of the appellants whose appeals were successful in the Divisional Court, amounted to 3,705,000 in the same period.The auditor’s costs (including those of his solicitor and barrister) incurred since 30 April 1999, indemnified by the Audit Commission, amount to 1.75 million to 31 October 2001, including the costs of the remaining successful appellant (514,265), which were not paid over until after 30 April 1999, but exclude any costs borne by Westminster city council since 30 April 1999.