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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Opposition tears into cost of running council newsletter

OPPOSITION leaders in South Lakeland ripped a council newsletter to shreds during a key meeting after declaring it a vehicle for “shameless self promotion”.

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objections Conservative South Lakeland District Councillor David Williams objects to the cost of producing the South Lakeland News and would like to see a council tax cut instead

Windermere Councillor David Williams declared the South Lakeland News a waste of public money – stating it should be axed from the authority’s budget.

The paper is delivered to all households in the district twice a year and costs £26,000 per edition.

Cllr Williams told SLDC representatives at the budget setting meeting in Kendal Town Hall: “It’s something that could easily be abolished.

“This could be the first time that we had a reduction in council tax for 20 years so why don’t we go for it?

“Why don’t we give something back to our residents? Quite frankly, this is an excellent idea,” he added.

Cllr Williams and his Conservative Party colleagues also slammed the award of cash to the South Lakeland Area Partnership – which funds community projects – as well as the £1,000 individual councillors receive to spend on a project of their choice within their ward.

The proposed savings formed the basis for an alternative budget to reduce the district council’s share of the tax by one per cent.

Fellow Tory representative Councillor Ben Berry added: “I am surprised at the views of some of my colleagues who don’t believe that we have a moral obligation to give our residents the chance to keep some money in their back pockets.

“We are giving back the money that is being used for shameless self-promotion.”

But the cuts outlined in the alternative budget were derided as a “pointless gesture” by the ruling Liberal Democrat group which claimed a one per cent decrease was the equivalent of 75p per person per year.

Council leader Peter Thornton said: “Over three years you could put that money aside and eventually have enough to buy a cup of coffee.

“What we are actually proposing is that we freeze council tax for the fifth year in a row for the first time in history.

“The fact is that we are constantly looking to deliver the same services for less cost.”

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