Exasperating reportin the Daily Telegraph about Lib Dem-run Oldham Council spending £3,000 on a jaunt for 20 oofficers and councillors to discuss cost cutting. It took place at the four star Marriott Park Hotel and Country Club. This is despite the Council's own Town Hall meeting rooms having been recently upgraded at a cost of £500,000.
A Council spokesman says:
The practice of holding away day events is common among many other local authorities.
I''m afraid that may be true…but that doesn't make it right. I also hope it may become less common when a Conservative Government ensures greater transparency along the lines outlined in David Cameron's speech this morning. If councillors knew they faced being exposed and voted out when indulging in such extravagance they might decide that the boring old Town Hall meeting rooms might be good enough after all.
Oldham charges £1,514.07 for Band D Council Tax. This year the Council Tax is going up by a further 1.9%. An increase backed by Labour. But opposed by the Conservatives – whose Group Leader Cllr Jack Hulme accuses them of "reckless spending." He does seem to have a point. Among the spending is for the new Chadderton Wellbeing Centre which has just opened. The building was budgeted to cost the Council £100,000 a year – but will actually cost £811,000. Whoops.