Taxpayers forking out millions in legal costs

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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TAXPAYERS are forking out tens of millions of pounds more paying for costly legal fees for the Department of Health and Social Care now than they were four years ago.

Health minister and Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has admitted there has been a surge in the amount being taken from the public purse to cover legal battles.

The revelation comes following a written question to health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt by the SNP’s shadow health spokeswoman Philippa Whitford.

Writing to the Mr Hunt, she asked how much his department had ‘spent from the public purse on legal fees excluding sums relating to clinical malpractice’ each year.

Responding, Ms Dinenage said that in 2014/15 the government had paid out £18,266,000 on legal costs.

This figure increased in the following year to £19,771,000.

However, during 2016/17, the costs surged to just under £30m, hitting a total of £29,485,000.