Hillingdon Council has spent £2.95m on B&B hotels in the 2020/21 financial year, according to documents seen by The Hillingdon Herald. This includes more than £1m spent at Centremark Properties LTD. (31)
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I would, first, contact the council to see why they were spending this money on hotels, do councillors or officers regularly take council business trips? Are they putting up visiting politicians? Are they having events at the venues? It may be more likely they are housing refugees as Hillingdon has a significant refugee community. This could be a story itself, however.
I would then request to look at other London borough spending data to see what other councils had spent on hotel costs to compare Hillingdon with other boroughs.
I would like to speak to Centremark Ltd (and other hotels) to confirm why the council had spent the money there. Was it for an event? Was it for rooms? Etc. Additionally, you would want a comment from them if the council was doing anything illegal.
It is particularly interesting that two companies receive the majority of the money spent on B&B hotels. I would definitely explore the companies’ relationship with the council.
I would also request to speak to both Conservative Leader Ian Edwards (who is leader of the council) and Councillor Peter Curling (Labour Leader) and find out what they think of the council spending this money.
Additionally, there is probably some kind of Local Authorities spending watchdog that I would contact for comment.
Lastly, I would canvass the community to see how local business, religious, community leaders felt about the council spending money in this way.
Additionally, you could compare these costs with public spending on services in the borough and see how it adds up. Is there anything being neglected that could have used this money? (269)