Political row over Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council's £78,000 legal bill

A ROW has broken out between rival councillors over where the blame lies for high care costs and a large legal bill.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council last month lost a legal fight against care home providers after attempting to reduce care fees.

The authority lost in the High Court and must now pay £78,000 in legal costs.

That has led the main opposition Liberal Democrats to criticise the ruling Labour group for “wasting money.”

However, Labour has countered that it was the previous Lib Dem-led Coalition council which left the council with high care figures in the first place.

Glyn Nightingale, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “Residential care providers were never going to agree to lower charges in the middle of a contract.

“This is another in a series of disasters where Labour routinely wastes residents’ council tax.

"Not content with spending £1.5m on a vertical pier that nobody wants, £37,600 on bird monitoring, and £125,000 doing up the town hall just before it was demolished, now Labour bosses are forcing local council taxpayers to stump up £78,000 for their poor judgement.”

Coun Sheelagh Clarke, Labour cabinet member for health and social well-being, said that the previous non-Labour administration had agreed the current care payment model in 2006, which had led to the council paying an average of £40 per resident per week - more than any other North-East authority.

She said that added up to £1.3m a year, a total of £7.8m.

“We have been attempting to re-negotiate these fees on behalf of our residents but the Independent Care Home Owners Association chose to take the matter to Judicial Review on five grounds," she said.

"It is significant that on only one of these grounds did the judge find for the claimants, and that was on a matter of process only. We will now correct the process issue and set the fees at an acceptable level for our residents.”

George Dunning, leader of the council, said: “Even nigh on six years since the coalition were thrown out of office we are still suffering from their legacy of avarice.

"Not only did they hike up their salaries between 383 per cent for cabinet members and a massive percentage hike of 557 per cent for the deputy mayor, they paid private care providers far in excess of neighbouring local councils.”

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Comments (3)

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1:01am Sun 10 Feb 13

Chris Abbott says...

The reason why Councillor Dunning only uses percentages each time he repeats this nonsense about raising the Deputy Mayor's Council Allowance, is because in money terms it only actually amounted to a few pounds. It is also notable that Councillor Dunning and his team have continued to claim it all the time they have been in office.
The reason why Councillor Dunning only uses percentages each time he repeats this nonsense about raising the Deputy Mayor's Council Allowance, is because in money terms it only actually amounted to a few pounds. It is also notable that Councillor Dunning and his team have continued to claim it all the time they have been in office. Chris Abbott

1:04am Sun 10 Feb 13

Davy Crocket says...

Labour .. waste money ? Never .... who would have thought those pea brained twits would do such a thing. They believe it grows on trees you know.
Labour .. waste money ? Never .... who would have thought those pea brained twits would do such a thing. They believe it grows on trees you know. Davy Crocket

3:34pm Sun 10 Feb 13

st-george1 says...

… another one of Teesside’s Labour sponsored scandals at the heart of democracy …
Mr Dunning and his close Labour friends seem to enjoy doing things once again that are OUT OF LINE with Public expectation … spending money they haven’t got or simply wasting taxpayers monies and blaming anyone but themselves … trouble is every time there’s an attempt to excuse or hide these things, it creates the impression that there’s something much more fraudulent or corrupt going on and needs Mr Pickles to initiate an investigation in my opinion.

The people of R & C seem to have been betrayed by Redcar’s Labours councillors for so long and the fact that so many are still voting for those who betrayed them IS a terrible indictment upon what they are now !
Let’s see how long this council ignores the needs of the taxpayers, bumps up council taxes, increases their allowances, isolate their opposition and carry on with the financial waste or losses approach and forces them to pay more in taxes to also help out their disgraced police force friends ?
… another one of Teesside’s Labour sponsored scandals at the heart of democracy … Mr Dunning and his close Labour friends seem to enjoy doing things once again that are OUT OF LINE with Public expectation … spending money they haven’t got or simply wasting taxpayers monies and blaming anyone but themselves … trouble is every time there’s an attempt to excuse or hide these things, it creates the impression that there’s something much more fraudulent or corrupt going on and needs Mr Pickles to initiate an investigation in my opinion. The people of R & C seem to have been betrayed by Redcar’s Labours councillors for so long and the fact that so many are still voting for those who betrayed them IS a terrible indictment upon what they are now ! Let’s see how long this council ignores the needs of the taxpayers, bumps up council taxes, increases their allowances, isolate their opposition and carry on with the financial waste or losses approach and forces them to pay more in taxes to also help out their disgraced police force friends ? st-george1

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