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Tameside (Legal Costs)

Volume 932: debated on Tuesday 17 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the total cost to public funds of the legal proceedings in the Tameside case are yet known; and if she will make a statement.

The costs have not yet been determined. The matter is still under negotiation between the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the legal representatives of the Tameside local authority.

Is it not clear that the total cost of these proceedings is in excess of £25,000? Since in the judgment of the House of Lords it was stated that the predecessor of the right hon. Lady had misdirected himself fundamentally, ought not the costs to be paid by the Minister personally?

It is not my understanding that it is yet known what the costs are, and I therefore cannot comment on the hon. Gentleman's observations.

Is the Minister aware that this huge cost to the Exchequer, which could be better spent on books and stationery in schools thoughout the country, was caused not by anything that Tames-side did but because Tameside was sued by the Department on wrong legal advice?