East Ham Conservatives have identified more than a quarter of a million pounds worth of waste at the Town Hall for just one month, following new rules that require Newham Council to publish all spending over £500.

The Conservatives have scoured the spending records covering late November and early December 2010 to find that despite job losses and unilateral changes to workers pay and conditions, the Council still spent £349,392.52 on food, consultants, advertising and other fripperies.

The Town Hall spent £162,401.12 on catering and catering facilities alone in December, with the Department for the Environment being the biggest offender – one company received more than £80,000 in payments.

The Chief Executive’s Office authorised £81,187.50 worth of external consultancy advice that month excluding another £3,300 spent on seeking advice on staff adverts. Mr Bromley-Derry’s department also sanctioned £12,600 payment for staff subsistence to Counterpoint Consulting Ltd; racked up £857.32 on staff expenses at the Novotel Hotel and another £724.25 on plants from All About Flowers.

Despite being told rein in spending on publicity Newham Council still lashed out £19,448.96 on printing issues related to the Newham Mag and In Focus supplement; £970 on street entertainers; £1,120 on marquees; £25,000 on fireworks; £578 on logoed gifts and £9,570 on catering and facilities at Forman’s Fish Island in Stratford. Newham was also forced to pay a £31,635.37 electricity bill to Kent County Council.

East Ham Conservative chairman Neil Pearce said:

‘The fact that we have weeded out £324,402.12 of waste in one month demonstrates that Labour-run Newham Council heeds no lessons about reckless spending. The Mayor of Newham unilaterally changed the terms of conditions of thousands of workers and announced the axing of 1,600 staff in a month where he allowed his officers to gorge on more than a quarter of million pounds chucking it up the walls.’

Mr Pearce is set to raise more concerns about the London Borough of Newham in a planned meeting with the Department for Communities & Local Government this month.

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