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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.

At the same time they are closing Sure Start centres and closing libraries. In an attack on the Big Society in the city it has halved grants to the voluntary sector.

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.

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