THE Taxpayers’ Alliance said South Tyneside Council’s decision to spend £214,000 of public money on the hunt for Mr Monkey represented “one of the worst examples of waste and control freakery in quite some time”.
Dia Chakravarty, political director at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “This is certainly a welcome decision, only taken a few years and a few hundred thousand pounds too late.
“The ludicrous decision to pursue this claim at the expense of hard-pressed taxpayers is one of the worst examples of waste and control freakery in quite some time.
“Let good sense prevail now, to save taxpayers’ money and to allow the council to focus on delivering services.”
Last week, the pressure group attacked the council over its Mr Monkey spend as it released statistics showing that the authority’s legal debts or borrowing obligations per head of population in 2012/13 was £6,125 – the highest in England. According to its report, total liabilities for South Tyneside Council stand at £909m.
It said much of the borough’s long-term liabilities are related to the partially-funded Local Government Pension Scheme, but 40 per cent takes the form of long-term borrowing.