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Taxpayers funding £5.2m cost of residences for judges

Taxpayers are still paying more than £5 million a year to accommodate High Court judges in publicly funded lodgings, the Government has said.

The court service launched a review of the cost of lodgings nearly five years ago after a press investigation revealed the cost was £5.5m a year. Since 2009, the cost has come down by only about £270,000.

Labour frontbencher John Spellar said the Government should tackle vested interests and called for judges to face the same austerity as everyone else after the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) revealed £5,232,600 was spent on judges' lodgings in 2012/13.

Mr Spellar acknowledged that in some cases it was appropriate, such as if a judge was covering an organised crime case close to the area where the syndicate operated, but argued for the MoJ to justify each residence and its staff.

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara, who gave the figures in answer to Mr Spellar's written parliamentary question, said Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas were reviewing the spend on lodgings.

High Court judges are based in London but sometimes have to hear serious and complex cases in courts near where the events took place.

Mr Spellar said: "There will be some places where this represents value for money. There are other places where it is disproportionate.

"They should have to justify each residence."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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