Labour: We will cut luxury lodgings exclusively used by High Court judges
They include penthouse flats and Georgian townhouses -sometimes with full-time staff including cooks and housekeepers and cleaners.
But the days of luxury lodgings for High Court judges forced out into provinces to hand down justice now look to be numbered.
Labour is preparing to announce that they will do away with the fifteen permanent residences in cities such Birmingham, Nottingham, Preston and Leeds to save £2.9 million a year from the Ministry of Justice budget.
The accommodation cost is also being reviewed by the Coalition and whichever party wins power in May looks almost certain to force their Lordships into the less salubrious surroundings of a city centre hotel.
Labour said the move would save an estimated £2.9m a year in running cost as well as an estimated £26.3m from the sale of the publicly-owned properties.
It intends to invest the money into improving the collection of fines issued by the courts which, it claimed, could raise an extra £67 million a year.
As part of its review of Government spending Labour also said it would find saving from the current court budget by co-locating two-thirds of the remaining single-use county courts and magistrates’ courts on the same site.
Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “We will look at whether taxpayers would be better served by selling off the penthouse flats and Georgian townhouses, which are owned and maintained by the state for the exclusive use of High Court judges.
“The abysmal record of Ministers allowing so many criminal penalties to go uncollected isn’t just bad for justice – it’s bad for our public finances too.
Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, added: “This shows that Labour is taking tough decisions when it comes to finding savings in the justice budget.”