Search

Report finds Haringey council’s luxury yacht trip actually cost taxpayers £9k

07:00 27 March 2014

Councillor Alan Strickland was one of the three-strong team who attended the property conference in Cannes.

Councillor Alan Strickland was one of the three-strong team who attended the property conference in Cannes.

Archant

Haringey Council’s ability to count has been thrown into question after it transpired the amount spent sending staff to Cannes cost the taxpayer triple the amount it originally claimed.

Last week, the council insisted only £3,000 of public money was used to fund the three-day trip to property conference MIPIM, hosted on a luxury yacht in the French Riviera.

But an investigation, called for by the Liberal Democrats, has revealed taxpayers will in fact be footing a £9,000 bill – with the total cost for the trip coming in at £22,000.

Indeed, the original £3,000 figure is only just enough to cover travel and accommodation expenses for cabinet member Cllr Alan Strickland and the director of regeneration Lyn Garner.

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Richard Wilson said: “Regeneration should be about improving the lives of ordinary local residents, not hobnobbing with wealthy developers on a luxury yacht in Cannes. This scandal shows just how out of touch Haringey’s Labour councillors are with local people.”

In a breakdown of the figures, the report shows the council received £13,000 in sponsorship from various private companies to send Cllr Alan Strickland and Ms Garner to Cannes.

Some £1,731 was spent on accommodation for two nights and £1,541 on travel in addition to the £18,800 price tag for attending the conference.

Haringey’s chief executive Nick Walkley covered his own expenses. Eyebrows have also been raised about the trip as it was not discussed with the council’s cabinet. The report put this down to a “genuine misunderstanding” of council protocol.

But the council has continued to defend its actions – pointing out the event, hosted by Arup, which has worked with them to develop regeneration plans in Tottenham, was attended by 43 authorities around the country.

At Monday’s full council meeting, council leader Cllr Claire Kober reiterated it was an important opportunity for them to meet with developers and investors.

She said: “I would argue that it is right that we were there and it is right that we are transparent about what we do. We are committed to publishing decisions and costs associated with them.”

Lee Valley Estates has backed up the council’s decision, saying it is “vital” Tottenham is represented at major evens like MIPIM to be taken seriously with major investors.

Neale Coleman, mayoral advisor on Tottenham, added: “MIPIM is a unique opportunity for public authorities to speak to potential investors about building new homes, bringing new jobs and supporting transport and social investment in areas like Tottenham.”

“It must make sense for Haringey to be taking advantage of that.”

The council was unwilling to be drawn on why it did not chose to attend the London conference later this year instead.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

16:31
Christopher Atkins                Picture: HMRC

A film producer from Gospel Oak who was jailed for five years after spinning a “web of lies” to get taxpayer funding for a Bafta-nominated film has been ordered to repay more than £100,000.

14:07
The crash in Swiss Cottage happened this morning         Picture: Nick Ansell/PA

A driver has been freed from a car after it crashed into a parked lorry in Swiss Cottage.

12:55
Mandarin workshop at Highgate Primary School

A Highgate school which prides itself on being a pioneer in teaching Mandarin is pulling out all the stops to embrace Chinese culture.

Yesterday, 15:00
Lord Dubs      Picture: Katie Collins/PA

Dozens of politicians, religious leaders, charity heads and cultural groups in Camden have signed a letter pleading with Home Secretary Amber Rudd to change her mind on settling child refugees in Britain.

Yesterday, 10:48
Lara Casalotti

A year ago, Belsize Park student Lara Casalotti was in desperate need of a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

Yesterday, 09:57
The crash in England's Lane                Picture: Francoise Lamouche

A car crashed and flipped over in Belsize Park last night – with the occupants mysteriously fleeing.

Mon, 17:49
Nazanin with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella

West Hampstead mum Nazanin has finally seen a specialist for her back and neck, who said that without urgent treatment she could run the risk of permanent impairment

Mon, 13:14
Gakleen Shahata

Police are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of a deaf woman with learning difficulties after she went missing from a church in Golders Green.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now