Council consultants charge £90k in fees

Council chiefs spent �90k on consultants fees
Council chiefs spent �90k on consultants fees
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Council chiefs in St Helens spent almost £100,000 on consultants fees over the past 12 months, the St Helens Reporter can reveal.

During the last full financial year, the town hall called on the services of six external experts, new figures show.

The biggest slice of council funds was paid to Mardale Design £20,832 for business liason services designed to attract new developments to the area.

More than £10,000 was paid to three legal and accountancy firms for advice over the Building Schools for the Future fund, which was shelved by the Government in 2011.

The biggest benefactor of council pay-outs was Mouchel, a Woking-based design, engineering and management consultancy. They pocketed £43,332 of taxpayers cash to help council officials develop a new street lighting scheme.

Meanwhile, Aitkins Ltd, another design and engineering consultancy, was paid £14,929 for its expertise in creating the council’s sustaintable transport scheme.

Cash paid to Mouchel and Aitkins came from an external grant.

The sum paid out by St Helens Council, however, is tiny compared to the vast amount spent by neighbouring local authority, Wigan, where nearly £1m was shelled out on consultants during the same period.

A town hall spokeswoman said: “The council uses the expertise of its employees in almost all cases.

“It uses consultants sparingly and only in cases where there is a need of a very specialist nature.”

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