LABOUR peer Toby Harris has been lording it by running up a £15,000 taxi fares bill in just one year.

Lord Harris, a former leader of Haringey Council and still a councillor, has been costing taxpayers nearly £300 a week in cab journeys.

The revelation comes after a council investigation into his expenses which were originally logged at £13,526 with £4,944 travel costs.

Lord Harris's expenses are now found to total almost £24,000 despite the fact that he attended only four council meetings last year.

Now the full extend of his £15,062 taxi bill has been realised, it has brought widespread condemnation.

Cllr Peter Forrest, leader of the Conservative Group, said: 'When I first saw his expenses total I thought he was taking the ratepayers for a ride. Now I have seen his taxi bill I can see it's quite literally the other way around.

'Councillors who milk the system bring their colleagues of all parties into disrepute.

'Even Ken Livingstone uses the Tube. Perhaps its too plebeian for the 'noble Lord'.'

Pam Moffatt, chair of Haringey Consortium of Disabled People and Carers, was astonished at the bill.

The organisation was one of the victims of council cuts, losing £33,000 a year and now having to run an essential service on just £16,000 a year after the authority announced it planned to save £20 million to balance its books.

Ms Moffatt said: 'We think it is pretty outrageous when we can't get enough money from the council to even get some orange badges.

'They are paying £15,000 for somebody like that who should be using public transport.

'We would much rather see that money put into transport for people with disabilities.'

For £15,000 of public money, the NHS could pay for two heart bypass operations or five hip replacements.

Or it could be used to pay for an much-needed extra schoolteacher, social worker or even a dustman.

A public transport travelcard for all London's six zones for a year would cost £1,416 ? cheap enough to ferry around ten peers of the realm for the price of the taxi bill.

Haringey Council said that, as chair of the Association of Local Government, Lord Harris attends meetings across the capital and often has to work while travelling.

A council spokeswoman said: 'It is standard practice that whenever a councillor becomes involved in work like this a local authority bears any associated costs.'

She said that since he was elected to the Greater London Assembly ? which he receives a full salary from ? Lord Harris has not been claiming his coumcil transport perk.