Worcestershire County Council have been criticised today for running up a bill of over £1million for “self indulgent” refurbishments to the County Halls.
Councillor Wells, who has sparked the controversy is quoted in the Worcester News:
"At a time when the council is making savage cuts across key areas of services, it's indefensible to be allocating £1 million to the council chamber. I would argue that it's unacceptable and self-indulgent."
Indeed this is a council that is trying to make £25million in cuts, so this does seem like an obscure move, especially considering all the added extras that the £1million includes – such as a £103,000 audiovisual system which will project the faces of speakers onto a big screen. A novelty for councillors perhaps, but not of much use to taxpayers.
Once the elected members have tired of seeing their magnified heads projected for the benefit of the chamber, they are still left with lots of money to find.
Too often councils are seen to be indulging in trimmings and superficialities, all designed to give the impression of a slick operation when actually they function as something of a disguise.
If, as Councillor Wells states, key areas of service are facing “savage cuts”, presumably effecting quality, then pouring money into meeting rooms and flashy technology all to make councillors’ lives more easy is truly unforgivable.
Councillors are public servants and should act accordingly, and that means serving the needs of their public before they tend to their own.