In his Party Conference speech the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls declared:
It is a Labour Council here in Liverpool which is working night and day to make savings and cut bureaucracy so they can protect jobs and keep services for the most vulnerable.
But a look at the procurement spending by the council for July shows countless thousands spent on taxis and training conferences in hotels and cafes. There was one payment of £40,000 to the Arena and Convention Centre. This came under the categories of "Corporate Other" and "Conference (General)". They were paid another £62,940 for "consultant and professional services."
We see that Blue Orchid Management Consultants were paid £21,932.33. Vast sums were spent on agency staff via Matrix SCM Ltd. Prism Lighting were paid £25,000 for "promotions" while the corporate events catering company Eatons Outside Catering were paid £6,843.76. Endless payments for thousands a time went to Icon SLS who are a firm that makes flags and banners. A law firm called DWF LLP picked up over £65,00 for "capital regen" fees.
There is lots more. Do have a look for yourself. Remember this is spending for just one month.
This is also a council that pays a £115,000 annual sub to the Local Government Association.
According to the Town Hall Rich List 2011 the Council has given their Chief Executive a 5% pay rise to £278,714 a year. They are also listed as paying three other directors over £200,000 a year. In 2009 their Chief Executive stayed at the Dorchester for a Human Resources Award ceremony which Liverpool didn't even win.
They have also increased their spending on paying the salaries of union officials to nearly £400,000.
If Ed Balls regards Liverpool City Council as his guiding star for managing the public finances that is a salutary warning for the rest of us.