Fab Foi Watchers!
Further proof this week (if needed) that all is not well with sinking flagship borough, Westminster Council.
You may remember way back in February when we asked them about payments to City Centre Restaurant Ltd, which had been recorded under their spend data category as “catering services”.
Surely this was going to be the easiest FOI they had ever had to respond to?
Just a matter of looking up the relevant account details and forwarding receipts etc!
Well not quite…
As we learnt from this reply, the payments were not for catering services at all but were actually for the rental of a flat in Leicester Square- 19 Irving Street WC2 to be precise:
Yes folks, WC had been renting a flat for a cool £19,000 a quarter and charging it as catering!
More intriguing was why Westminster were blowing £80,000 a year of taxpayers money for a pied-a-terre when
they’re in the process of eviciting thousands of low-income famiies from their homes because of high rents!
You literally couldn’t make this stuff up…
A battle ensued with their infamous FOI team and a staggering 138 days after our initial request we finally wrangled this info from them:
” Mr Coleman
Thank you for your request which asked for the reasons for the rental of
the flat at 19 Irving Street, WC2.
This property is rented by the City Council but is currently being used by
City Guardians who are employed by the Heart of London Business Alliance.”
Quite why WC are assuming responsibility for housing employees of a business alliance but are more than happy to make vulnerable people homeless is anyone’s guess and frankly the whole business is bizarre.
Shades of Molly Moggs perchance?