Leicester taxpayers have had to fork out almost £9,000 in legal fees for the council’s boycott of Israel that local authority chiefs admit has had “no impact”.

Figures released following a Freedom of Information request this month showed that £7,355+VAT was paid to outside Counsel for advice on, and following, the November 2014 decision to boycott some trade from Israel.

However, the cost of in-house Counsel was not included in the information, so the true cost to the taxpayer is likely to be much higher. Jewish Human Rights Watch, a grassroots advocacy organisation which sued the Council, said its legal costs “could eventually reach £200,000”.

In response to the FoI request, Leicester City Council chiefs say: “The Council’s procurement activity has not been impacted by the Motion.”

Earlier this year, government ministers introduced new guidelines prohibiting councils from boycotting goods from Israel, promising “severe penalties” for those pursuing such policies.