Haringey Council bosses spend £44k on Cannes ‘jolly’

Council bosses spent almost �44,000 on a trip to a real estate conference in Cannes. Credit: Toby Me

Council bosses spent almost �44,000 on a trip to a real estate conference in Cannes. Credit: Toby Melville - Credit: EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

Haringey Council bosses are under fire after spending almost £44,000 visiting a French Riviera real estate conference.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request submitted last month, the council confirmed the March trip to Cannes cost £43,972.44 with more than £10,000 spent on networking events alone.

The staff who went – with each person’s travel and accommodation costs in brackets – were: Councillor Alan Strickland, (£1,507.91); Cllr Joe Goldberg, (£1,719.46); Lyn Garner, (£2,278.51); Daniel Hawthorn, (£1,647.91) and Helen Fisher, (£1,647.91).

Four of the five spent three nights in hotels, but Cllr Goldberg stayed one night in the Hotel Abrial which boasts of “a panoramic view over the centre of Cannes” on its website.

Martin Ball, who made the FOI request, said: “This shows you what contempt the council hold for the public.

“It’s shocking to see the amount of money they spend. It just seems like a jolly so they can drink and share jokes with all their developer friends,” he added.

Further costs – paid for out of a regeneration budget and by corporate sponsors – included £20,325 to register, £3,661.70 for flights and transfers – including taxis to Luton and Stansted airports – and £8,800 for a model of the council’s regeneration plan.

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And according to the council’s register of members’ interests, Cllr Strickland was wined and dined to the tune of £235 by a number of property developers including Countryside, Notting Hill Housing and Argent.

In 2014 Haringey spent almost £19,000 exhibiting at the same conference.

A council spokesman said: “We believe passionately Haringey is the future of London. Securing the right investment is essential to the borough achieving its potential as one of the capital’s best places to live and work.

“Attending MIPIM allows us to make that case to the investors we need to help us deliver the thousands of jobs and new homes our residents deserve.”

According to the spokesman, sponsors contributed £16,300 of the total and “to keep costs to a minimum” the council shared a stand with 420 organisations including 19 other London boroughs.

He added the number of bosses who went was justified because each played a key role in the regeneration of Tottenham and Wood Green with Cllr Goldberg paying higher hotel costs because of a lack of availability.

Asked how much investment attendance at MIPIM had attracted, he said: “It would be misleading to try and quantify either the contacts or investment generated. It doesn’t make sense to talk about its standalone impact.

“Since our first attendance at MIPIM in 2014 we have secured partnerships which will bring in billions of pounds of investment,” he added.

On whether or not it represented value for taxpayers’ money, he stressed the importance of attracting investment in the face of funding cuts.

“We continue to believe MIPIM is a powerful way to attract investors and stake our claim to be the next major chapter in London’s growth story,” he said.