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Conservative councils are showing the way for local authorities around the country with innovative savings to help protect frontline services. In response to the budget reductions required to clear up Labour’s economic mess, Conservative councils have built upon the recent council tax freeze to find more smart ways to help hard-working families and pensioners.

The most innovative money-saving initiatives from Conservative councils include:

  • Hammersmith & Fulham and North Yorkshire signing deals to work with local newspapers at low cost, replacing the councils’ own magazines paid for by taxpayers
  • Windsor & Maidenhead selling advertising space on the council website to generate additional income
  • Medway reducing its annual payment to trade unions by £46,000
  • Trafford reducing the number of mayoral cars and selling the Mayor’s personalised number-plate
  • Arun reducing their buildings from eight to five, while combining council receptions into just one reception with integrated services
  • East Sussex forming the South East 7 alliance with six other councils to achieve major savings from shared services
  • Wyre and Chorley sharing a chief executive
  • Merton and Richmond merging their legal teams
  • Ryedale scrapping its taxpayer-funded newsletter
  • Leicestershire selling paintings and sculptures that sit in council storage to raise money

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said:

‘Conservative councils are showing that innovative thinking – be it sharing a chief executive, merging back-office teams or even selling the council’s chosen number-plates – can save taxpayers money.

‘As Labour councils make political cuts while wasting their taxpayers’ hard-earned money, Conservative councils are going the extra mile to find savings and protect frontline services.

‘Every council across the country has frozen or cut council tax. Every council – except Labour-run Nottingham – has revealed its expenditure online. Every council should now follow the lead of the Conservatives in delivering more for less.’

Details on the money-saving initiatives:

  • Hammersmith & Fulham signing a deal to have two pages a week in the local newspaper for free, replacing the council’s fortnightly magazine which cost taxpayers £150,000 per year (Local Government Chronicle, 6 April 2011)
  • North Yorkshire cancelling £400,000 per year newspaper favour of a trial scheme that will see the authority work with local newspapers (The Press, 3 February 2011).
  • Windsor & Maidenhead selling advertising space on the council website to generate additional income (The Guardian, 6 April 2011).
  • Medway halving its annual payment to trade unions – saving local taxpayers almost £50,000 (Kent News, 7 April 2011).
  • Trafford reducing the number of mayoral cars and selling the Mayor’s personalised number-plate (TraffordConservatives.com, 13 January 2011).
  • Arun reducing their buildings from eight to five, while combining council receptions into just one reception with integrated services, saving up to £400,000 (Email from Cllr Dendle, Arun District Council, 9 April 2011).
  • East Sussex forming the South East 7 alliance with six other councils to achieve major savings of up to £500 million from shared services (Email from Cllr Jones, East Sussex County Council, 8 April 2011).
  • Wyre and Chorley sharing a chief executive, saving £50,000 per year (Chorley Guardian, 13 October 2010).
  • Merton and Richmond merging their legal teams, saving about 20 per cent in costs for each council (Merton council website, 28 February 2011).
  • Ryedale scrapping its taxpayer-funded newsletter (DCLG Press Release, 9 February 2011).
  • Leicestershire selling paintings and sculptures that sit in council storage to raise about £200,000 (Leicester Mercury, 7 March 2011).

Transparency and Nottingham:

  • Every council in England apart from Labour-run Nottingham has published online its expenditure over £500. Nottingham is refusing to reveal how it spends its taxpayers’ money, with the council leader asserting: ‘[Publishing all spending over £500] will only waste officer time… we have much better things to be doing’ (Labour leader of Nottingham City Council, Cllr Jon Collins, Nottingham Evening Post,
    27 January 2011).

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