Torch relay bill update – 128 authorities, £5.5m

128 public authorities spent a combined £5.5m on staging the Olympic torch relay, according to the latest figures being compiled by Help Me Investigate users.

The figure – based on Freedom of Information requests to local councils and police bodies – adds a further £1m to the costs identified based on a survey of 100 authorities in February, and further supports the estimate of a national cost at over £13m.

London boroughs have been added to the bottom line including Hackney, Redbridge, Bromley, Bexley, Newham, Sutton, Hounslow, Richmond upon Thames, Brent, Croydon, Barking and Dagenham, Ealing, Lambeth, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Enfield, Barnet, Kingston upon Thames, Camden, Waltham Forest, and Merton.

Many of these boroughs benefited from grants from the Greater London Authority for bunting, which have been deducted from the final total. Bexley, for example, received £165,900 in grants and sponsorship which have been subtracted from their total of £270,400.

Also added are Midlands authorities Coventry (£45,000), Warwickshire (£79,000), and Leicestershire (£133,000).

Among the spending revealed by the requests are Warwickshire’s appointment of a temporary member of staff at a cost of £25,977, making them the only authority other than Norwich – at a cost of £34,000 – to do so.

Many authorities, including Croydon, billed their staff time as a zero cost, as it was volunteered, although “professional stewarding costs” came to an extra £11,000. Lambeth hired a “Health and safety consultant” at £1,100.

Leicestershire were also unique in spending £103,629 on ‘staffing and overtime” for a rehearsal event.

Richmond upon Thames spent over £24,000 on towaway vehicles, while Barking and Dagenham billed vehicle removal at only £696.

If you want to get involved in investigating the spending – or any other questions across the Help Me Investigate network, get in touch at

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