‘A complete waste of our money’

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle

County Hall bosses have been accused of wasting £70,000 of taxpayers’ money on election ‘propaganda’.

New figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that Tory-run Lancashire County Council has spent £71,893.59 on publishing and delivering its Vision magazine.

The newsletter has been pushed through letter boxes in the county.

It comes as voters prepare to go to the polls on May 2 with all seats at Lancashire County Council up for re-election.

Criticising the move, Labour candidate for Chorley North Geoff O’Donoghue claimed it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

He said: “I understand the magazine has cost about £70,000.

“I remember back when the Conservatives got into power in Lancashire, they said the magazine had been a complete waste of money under Labour, but they have published it as we are heading towards an election.

“It is a self-promoting magazine which lists the work they have been doing.

“In such difficult economic times, I believe the money would have been better spent protecting frontline services.

“There are a lot of concerns about cuts to services, including day care centres and Sure Start, and £70,000 could have filled a lot of pot holes.

“It is taxpayers’ money that they are using to pay for what is ultimately their own election campaign.”

County Hall said the publication of the magazine had been reduced under the Tory administration and it had gone from being produced almost monthly to just once a year.

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said: “I know my constituents will be disappointed to hear £72,000 is being spent on something like this in difficult economic times. People are losing their jobs and yet money is being spent on a magazine which is part of the Tory election campaign.”

Defending the cost, Leader of Lancashire County Council Geoff Driver said: “The county council is the biggest public service provider and employer in Lancashire and, even in this economic climate, it’s right we should communicate with local people about what we’re doing.

“Over the last four years this administration has spent £280,195 on Vision and in the four years before that the previous administration spent £1.6m on Vision. In 2008-09 it was being produced and delivered 10 times a year.”