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Labour may axe judges' lodgings

Luxury taxpayer-funded lodgings used by high court judges during lengthy court cases could face the axe under plans unveiled by Labour.

Shadow chief treasury secretary Chris Leslie said a Labour government would look to sell-off 15 properties - including penthouse flats and Georgian town houses, some with their own cooks and housekeepers - in England and Wales.

Instead, judges would be required to find cheaper hotel rooms to stay in for the duration of the case they are hearing.

Labour estimate the sale would bring in more than £26 million for the Exchequer while saving £2.9 million a year in running costs.

The proposals form part of Labour's "zero-based review" of the public finances, intended to deliver annual savings to the courts budget of more than £70 million.

The party said the bulk of the savings would come from improving the collection of court fines, which it calculates will raise £67 million a year.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: "In these challenging financial times, we need to keep a firm grip on the purse strings, and that means taking a long hard look at the way we run our courts."


From Belfast Telegraph