TAXPAYERS have footed a £500,000 for the legal battle with the former Haringey director of children's service who was sacked after the death of Baby P.

Sharon Shoesmith is fighting through the courts to overturn her dismissal, fighting the decisions made by Haringey Council, regulator Ofsted, and former Children's Minister Ed Balls.

New Children's Minister Tim Loughton revealed in Parliament this week the costs incurred so far by the government and Ofsted, when answering a question from Bristol North-West Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie.

He revealed Ofsted's legal bill stood at £331,059, while the government had paid out £150,178.34 for legal representation.

Ms Shoesmith claims she was made a scapegoat after the death of 17-month-old Peter Connelly, who died in 2008 after month of abuse.

He had suffered more than 50 injuries in the month leading up to his death, but visits from social workers, doctors, and police officers failed to spot any problems.

His mother, Tracey Connelly, her partner Steven Barker, and his brother Jason Owen was all jailed last year for causing or allowing Baby Peter's death.

Following her sacking over the case, Ms Shoesmith has entered a protracted legal battle to clear her name.

She was ordered to pay out £25,000 in legal costs to the government in September, but was also given leave to appeal, a route she has decided to take.

Mr Loughton, in his Parliamentary answer, indicate Ofsted and the ministry have incurred further in-house costs over the case which cannot be accurately calculated, and the continuing legal wrangle is likely to cost the taxpayer even more.