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Iangeorge Lib Dem run Kingston upon Thames Council has the highest Council Tax in London. Now they have spent over £30,000 on an event to celebrate their approach to saving money. Cllr Ian George, a Conservative councillor in the borough reports.

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (Lib Dem controlled) has spent over £30,000 of Council Tax payer’s money on launching the ‘One Council’ initiative that is designed to save money. The event was held at the Rose Theatre on 27th March 2009. £3,068.00 was paid for catering, hire of crockery, tables and chairs.  £18,819.00 was paid for ‘Event Management’, which includes the set, lighting and technical support.  £7,500.00 pounds for ‘World Cafe support’ – apparently to train facilitators!?  £1,390.20 pounds for event handout materials. That’s a whopping total of £30,777.20 of Kingston Council Taxpayer's money spent on launching an initiative to SAVE money.

So why was it needed? Much of it was to train/inform staff of their new plans for saving money and for better working practices. We are all in favour of saving money and of better working practices, but was this expense really necessary? I say no. The Council has its own large halls for training staff. There is absolutely no need to use a theatre with full event management for this. There was no need to talk to all of the staff and other delegates at the same time.

Often it is necessary to ‘invest to save’ – but that is not the case in this instance. This is just sheer contempt for Kingston Council Taxpayers. This is why we pay the highest Council Tax in London.

So why did the Lib Dem council use the Rose Theatre, pay for full event management, pay for a set, lighting and technical support? Well anyone who watched the recent Lib Dem conference might have seen a very well produced video of the ‘One Council’ launch played at the conference and shown nationally via the BBC. Was this video the real reason why the £30,000 was spent?  It is of absolutely no use for Kingston Council Taxpayers, But was very useful for the Kingston Lib Dems to use for political gain. This whole thing stinks of the type of politics people are completely fed up of.

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