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WESTMINSTER SURCHARGE MAY BE£55M SAYS PANORAMA

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The surcharge on Conservative councillors and officers involved in the alleged Westminster City Council 'gerrymande...
The surcharge on Conservative councillors and officers involved in the alleged Westminster City Council 'gerrymandering' scandal has now been estimated at £55m according to claims made yesterday by Labour members of the council, reports the Financial Times (p11).

Peter Bradley, Labour's deputy leader on the council, said the new estimate took into account money spent on designated sales from 1989 onwards.

This is an increase from the £21.25m stated in the district auditor's report which only covered the period between 1987 and 1989.

The postponed BBC Panorama documentary last night attacked new aspects of the borough's alleged gerrymandering policy.

The programme detailed claims that the policies covered the council's planning policies, environmental work and professional 'dirty tricks' campaigns, as well as housing policy, the paper says.

Meanwhile, The Times (p1) reports that according to objectors who instigated the original auditor's inquiry, at least another five councillors had been involved in malpractice.

The paper cites Mr Bradley as saying that the alleged malpractice had cost every local taxpayer £500.

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