Richmond Council spent £3.4m on refurbishing its offices in three years, it emerged today.

The council spent the most of any London council on upgrade work, according to a Freedom of Information request.

Hounslow spent £2.9m, while Bromley spent £2.7m and Lewisham spent £2.38m, figures obtained by the BBC showed.

Richmond Council spent £701,000 redoing the ground floor of its civic centre, £728,000 on the first floor and £1,981,000 on the second and third floors.

A spokesman confirmed the BBC's figures for Richmond.

Richmond Council said it would need to make savings of £35m over the next four years and could cut up to 300 jobs, after the Government's spending review in October.

The council today defended spending the money during the recession.

Councillor Tony Arbour, Richmond Council’s cabinet member for performance, said: “This money was part of a project to rationalise our office space which began back in 2005 and it has been funded primarily from our use of capital funding generated by the prudent sale of land and building assets.

"By changing our civic centre to a modern,open planned working environment,the number of staff that could be accommodated has risen by almost a third.

“This has enabled us to move out of office space in Regal House which the Council was renting from a private landlord at cost of over £700,000 a year to the local taxpayer. This revenue is now available to be spent year on year on hard pressed frontline services."

Since 2008, councils in London have spent more than £29.8m on their town halls and civic centres.

Charlotte Linacre, from the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "It is appalling that London councils have spent millions of taxpayers' money on refurbishing their own buildings.

"What is even more disgraceful is that this spending was during a recession, when they were pleading poverty."

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