Council apologises over blunder that will cost Milton Keynes taxpayers almost £1m

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A council blunder over saving cash has COST MK taxpayers almost £1 million, the Citizen can reveal.

This week the council has apologised and admitted it was “embarrassed” about its wrong decision.

After a two year court battle, council bosses have agreed to pay £800,000 to aggrieved contractor Woods Building Services after wrongly ditching them for a cheaper tender.

The saga started when Bletchley-based Woods lost the £8 million contract to remove asbestos from council homes all over MK.

Woods challenged the decision through the High Court, arguing that the council’s point-scoring process that led to the selection of the cheaper company was unfair.

The council employed barristers to defend itself, but the judge agreed with Woods – and ordered MK Council to pay the £100,000 plus court costs.

Woods asked for a £1.6m settlement, but now an out of court settlement has been reached for half the amount.

Furious Tories say the total cost, including bills for council’s barristers must £1m.

Councillor Edith Bald said: “ The Labour led Council has once again presided over a mess which has wasted £1m of taxpayers’ money. This is on top of another £10m in unnecessary interest charges for the new waste treatment factory, borrowed  three years before it was needed. £11m would have built 75 council houses. It’s a disgrace.”

Fellow Tory Peter Geary said: “The waste of nearly a million pounds of money, especially in these times of austerity, is a very serious issue. The audit committee will work very hard to ensure that catastrophic mistakes such as this are never made again.”

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council said: “We’re embarrassed and sorry that our wrong decision cost taxpayers money.”