Bill for £40,000 is ‘a waste of money’

A review designed to help save money and improve efficiency at Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils is set to cost taxpayers £40,000.

The bill for the review, which aims to identify areas where the councils can share responsibility for decision making, includes £400 per day to one consultant.

Anne Brown was hired to give her insight and advice in July 2012. The main aspects of the review are set to be completed by the end of April, with a total cost of £34,000, plus more than £5,000 in travel and other expenses, which will be split between the two councils.

Jack Owen, mayor and district councillor for Sudbury, said: “It is in bad taste at a time when we are cutting staff and fighting for services that we should take on consultants.”

Richard Kemp, district councillor for Long Melford, said: “I don’t think people will be impressed at all as they are losing valuable facilities. Babergh has got its priorities wrong.”

Long Melford Parish Council has been forced to close one of the village’s public toilets and take over management of the other from the start of April after Babergh pulled its funding for the service, prompting criticisms that the move would affect tourism.

Peter Quirk, head of corporate organisation for both district councils, said Mrs Brown was appointed following a tendering process on the basis of her expertise in consulting on such matters.

However, Free Press reader David Gregg said: “A waste of money springs to mind.”