Consultants’ fees should be spent on libraries

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Reading The Star on Monday I was pleased to see that Sheffield City Council has come clean about its consultancy bill – such transparency from government is always something to applaud.

Nevertheless, I’m sure I’m not the only one who still feels that the figures quoted are extortionately high, when you consider the cuts to essential public services that the council is making while spending this money.

Would the money not be better spent ensuring that our public libraries stay open? Recent campaigns and petitions to save cuts to library services have had widespread public support. I doubt as many people are equally in favour of the high consultancy bill.

If the Labour-run council wants to properly defend its spending record, more information about the potential positive effect that external consultancy might have on ordinary people’s lives is needed. The council’s chief executive says these are “suppliers”, not consultants, that are being paid. That’s still not very helpful, people have a right to know exactly where their money is going.

Meanwhile, libraries and other threatened public services undeniably DO positively affect people; if the council’s spending priorities don’t align with what the public wants, then maybe someone else should be in charge.

Tom Mead

Firth Park, S5