Clegg’s ‘money wasting’ claims

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg
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Examples of how Sheffield Council has ‘wasted money’ are included in a dossier revealed by Deputy PM Nick Clegg.

The Sheffield Hallam MP presented a collection of ‘vanity projects and expenses claims’ made by Labour and Conservative councils at the launch of the Liberal Democrats’ local election campaign yesterday.

The £17,000 cost of buying new chairs and office equipment as staff move to new offices to save £34 million, a £12,500 cost relating to the trial of iPads and iPhones for council officers, plus a £4.7 million bill for employing consultants in a one year period are among the clippings included in the dossier.

In the document Mr Clegg said: “Across these pages you will find examples of Conservative and Labour-run councils wasting your taxes on gimmicks, vanity projects and elaborate expense claims.

“All this at a time of unprecedented pressure on council budgets, when deep savings are having to be made and when families are watching every penny.”

Mr Clegg also claimed that ‘when the Liberal Democrats are in power, it’s a different story’.

He said: “In all the councils we currently run we are freezing council tax while protecting essential services from cuts.”

Responding to the dossier, a Labour party spokesman said Sheffield people would ‘see straight through’ the ‘desperate attempt to deflect responsibility’.

He added: “We can’t trust a word the Lib Dems say.

“Time after time they fail to stand up for Sheffield and continue to prop up a Tory Government which is cutting their funding to Sheffield by over half, at the same time as some of the wealthiest areas in the country receive just a fraction of the cuts.”

He said councillors had ‘done everything we can to make efficiencies’, including saving £1m in a review of senior management, but it was not possible to meet Government cuts without impacting on council services.