A cash-strapped council has spent a staggering £25m on external consultants – in just three years

A cash-strapped council has spent a staggering £25m on external consultants – in just three years.

Sam Hearn, opposition leader at Hounslow Council, said Government austerity cuts are forcing local authorities to lay off in-house staff and use consultants as a result.

But the council spent more than £25,000,000 on consultant fees between the start of 2015 and the most up to date available in 2018, the FOI revealed.

Nearly half of that was on business matters – making up £12,100,000 of the total spend – more than £3m every year on average.

The next highest area of spend was £7,800,000 on property consultancy.

The biggest payment the council made to a single firm was more than £7,250,000 to Wilmott Partnership Homes based in Hitchin, Herts..

Opposition leader Sam Hearn said his party employed accountancy firm KPMG to help make the council more efficient when the Tories were in power eight years ago.

Responding to the BBC FOI, he said: “It’s hypocrisy that the Labour group continually criticised us for spending to appoint the accountancy firm and yet now they are spending this kind of money.”

But he added the spend shows how Government austerity cuts have forced councils to lose a lot of their experienced staff and therefore are forced to appoint consultants who have the expertise they have lost.

This comes as the council made a huge 24 per cent cut to its annual spending in four years – from £182.7m in 2014/15 to £139m in this financial year.


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