Havering Council splashed £85k on awards ceremonies, study reveals
PUBLISHED: 07:25 25 February 2019
The council has come under fire for splashing almost £85,000 on award ceremonies.
A national investigation by the TaxPayers’ Alliance has revealed that Havering Council spent £84,348.99 since 2015 on events handing out awards.
The Alliance, which campaigns for lower taxes and an end to wasteful government spending, blasted local authorities across the UK for spending money on ceremonies while at the same time limiting the range of services they provide.
Its chief executive said: “Families who work hard to pay their council tax will be disappointed to discover so many local authorities are still spending money on unnecessary extravagances.
“There’s nothing wrong with congratulating staff who work hard or celebrating local business, but council’s should prioritise the essential services they are paid to provide.”
He urged all councils to follow the example of others which have already negotiated sponsorship deals instead of paying themselves.
In response, Cllr Damian White, leader of Havering Council, said: “Our council is committed to delivering value for money.
“With the election of the new administration in May, we have put an end to frivolous spending on awards ceremonies.
“It is important to recognise the success of our staff and of our organisation but this should be done at no cost to the tax payer.”
The TaxPayers’ Alliance report reveals that UK councils dished out a total of £6,593,523 since 2015 on ceremonies.
The highest spend of the 366 councils in the study was Derbyshire County Council which splurged £218,483.
The 53 councils not included in the study either didn’t respond, refused to supply details or sent inadequate information in response to the TaxPayers’ Alliances freedom of information request.
In the capital, average spending was more than double the English average.
Of the 30 London boroughs that responded, Hammersmith and Fulham spent the most at £138,054.
Of the top 10 spenders, Havering was in sixth place behind Hackney, Haringey, Camden and Greenwich.
Brent forked out £207.50, the lowest spend, while Newham, Harrow and Croydon councils spent nothing.
In the study the TaxPayers’ Alliance deducted any savings made from sponsorship deals struck by councils.
In some cases this resulted in no cost to council tax payers, the group said.