Council newspaper ripped to shreds at meeting and branded a waste of money

Coun David Williams, leader of the Conservatives on SLDC

Coun David Williams, leader of the Conservatives on SLDC

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE latest edition of a free council newspaper has been ripped to shreds in the council chamber by a senior councillor who called it ‘a complete waste of money’.

Coun David Williams, leader of the Conservatives on South Lakeland District Council, tore up the publication which features 12-pages of news about the authority.

At a full meeting of the council to discuss its budget, he claimed residents he spoke to ‘didn’t want to read it’ and suggested it be axed as part of an alternative Tory budget devised to offer residents a one per cent reduction in the Council Tax.

“£26,000 is wasted on this….and I’m tearing it up,” said Coun Williams, ripping the paper apart as senior council officers and a full chamber looked on in silence.

But Lib Dem councillor David Ryder hit back calling the action a ‘pointless gesture’ and saying the paper was a ‘good read’ and a ‘good investment’ by the authority.

“Maybe you don’t read South Lakeland News, but it’s a better read than many other things we get. It’s a lot better than some of the other political literature,” said Coun Ryder.

Tory councillor Andrew GardIner suggested the council reduce costs of the publication by putting it online. “Think of the trees you would save,” he said. "That would show people we understand they struggle and the extra pounds are better in their pockets."

Lib Dem Cabinet member Jonathan Brook said not everyone had access to the internet and that it was important to inform residents about the work of the council.

“It reaches parts of the community other communications can’t reach,” he said.

Coun Ben Berry for the Conservatives said the paper was full of ‘shameless self-promotion’ for the ruling Lib Dems and that residents would prefer the money.

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“We’ve had savage cuts from central government yet this council has put forward a nought per cent increase in the Council Tax - an increase that plainly demonstrates how fat this council became in the good years,” he said.

Coun David Evans for the Lib Dems pointed out that local businesses advertised in the paper and they were good judges.

Comments (9)

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7:17am Wed 26 Feb 14

hogheaven says...

Why not have a vote to see if the public read it or want it
or is that too democratic?
Why not have a vote to see if the public read it or want it or is that too democratic? hogheaven
  • Score: 18

9:05am Wed 26 Feb 14

todhrocks@btinternet.com says...

It is a better read than Lib Dem " Focus ", but there again what isn't !!
It is a better read than Lib Dem " Focus ", but there again what isn't !! todhrocks@btinternet.com
  • Score: 16

11:10am Wed 26 Feb 14

redhairedgranny says...

Well done Cllr Williams! That paper is a total waste of money. I read the first one that came through my letter box and since then it has gone straight in the recycling box.
Well done Cllr Williams! That paper is a total waste of money. I read the first one that came through my letter box and since then it has gone straight in the recycling box. redhairedgranny
  • Score: 18

4:00pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Hoad Hill says...

It isn't a council newsletter, it's a LibDem propaganda leaflet and as such should be funded by the LibDems and not council tax payers.
It isn't a council newsletter, it's a LibDem propaganda leaflet and as such should be funded by the LibDems and not council tax payers. Hoad Hill
  • Score: 19

1:20am Thu 27 Feb 14

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

Three cheers for that man! Unless you are short of firelighters or lining for a budgie cage, the self-applauding council propaganda has no value. Why not cut the frills and concentrate on essentials? Anything more is an ego trip paid for by residents who have no choice - it is a legal duty to pay tax.
Three cheers for that man! Unless you are short of firelighters or lining for a budgie cage, the self-applauding council propaganda has no value. Why not cut the frills and concentrate on essentials? Anything more is an ego trip paid for by residents who have no choice - it is a legal duty to pay tax. Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: 16

1:07pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Gingery says...

That and the Lib Dem paper also goes in the recycling box within minutes of receiving it. I'd rather have the money go to something else, or not have the fees introduced for residents parking.
That and the Lib Dem paper also goes in the recycling box within minutes of receiving it. I'd rather have the money go to something else, or not have the fees introduced for residents parking. Gingery
  • Score: 11

2:00pm Thu 27 Feb 14

jazzactivist says...

I would never usually agree with a Conservative but in this case he is right, if a bit over dramatic! At a time of big service cuts it does seem a waste of money to produce a paper edition that goes out to every household. If it was just online on the Council website then people who want to read it would make the effort to do so. I read it when I first moved to the south Lakes, as I wanted to know what the Council here was doing, but now I don't bother as it is too self-congratulatory and sound-bitey.
I would never usually agree with a Conservative but in this case he is right, if a bit over dramatic! At a time of big service cuts it does seem a waste of money to produce a paper edition that goes out to every household. If it was just online on the Council website then people who want to read it would make the effort to do so. I read it when I first moved to the south Lakes, as I wanted to know what the Council here was doing, but now I don't bother as it is too self-congratulatory and sound-bitey. jazzactivist
  • Score: 10

8:53am Sun 2 Mar 14

elizarob says...

Well done for speaking out. Surely counsellors are custodians of council tax and are responsible for how it is spent. I do not wish to be informed , with council tax money, about how it is being spent. I want to see the benefits to the community. That is what the money is for..the upkeep of South Lakeland.
If SLDC thinks that this makes for interesting reading then they are mistaken! The criteria for spending council tax money should always be ' does it benefit the community?' This newspaper does not!!!
Well done for speaking out. Surely counsellors are custodians of council tax and are responsible for how it is spent. I do not wish to be informed , with council tax money, about how it is being spent. I want to see the benefits to the community. That is what the money is for..the upkeep of South Lakeland. If SLDC thinks that this makes for interesting reading then they are mistaken! The criteria for spending council tax money should always be ' does it benefit the community?' This newspaper does not!!! elizarob
  • Score: 5

11:44pm Sun 2 Mar 14

shirtbox says...

Absolutely right mr Williams,a complete waste of money.Does the figure given include printing and delivering,i doubt it.
Absolutely right mr Williams,a complete waste of money.Does the figure given include printing and delivering,i doubt it. shirtbox
  • Score: 1

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