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Council under fire for failing to spend cash
6:20am Friday 16th August 2013 in News
BEWDLEY Town Council has come under fire for not spending all of the public money allocated to carry out minor highways jobs in the town.
Worcestershire County Council chairman Gordon Yarranton has hit out at the town council, claiming it has returned thousands of pounds handed to it by the authority instead of paying for the lengthsman to carry out necessary work.
He said over six years it had been given £15,000 to cover odd jobs but only spent £7,000.
That was “denying the people of Wribbenhall and Bewdley work that could be done”, he added.
Stephen Inman, town clerk, admitted the council did not spend all the money allocated, but said it used the cash as it needed to.
Mr Yarranton, who lives in Bewdley, also accused the council of failing to report issues that the lengthsman needed to address, which Mr Inman denied. Residents had also reported jobs to the Worcestershire Hub.
Mr Yarranton, a Conservative county councillor for Cookley, Wolverley and Wribbenhall, said: “I’ve had complaints about weeds growing out of the pavements and that prompted me to go around Bewdley and the state of the gateways to Bewdley were appalling.
“There’s a whole manner of things that the lengthsman can do. The councillors are not reporting the issues and hence they are sending 60 per cent of the money back.
“Is it right that they should be sending that money back and setting a council tax precept of 10 per cent?
“Bewdley is the only town or parish council that sends money back to the county council. It’s appalling.”
Mr Inman explained that, of the £2,600 the council received a month to pay for the lengthsman, it spent £1,500.
He said the council was saving money by using the probation service’s community payback scheme, which meant some of the work that would be carried out by the lengthsman was done by offenders.
“This is all public money,”
he said. “Bewdley should be given some credit for being efficient and not using every penny that’s allocated otherwise we will have a situation where we spend for the sake of it. I don’t think people would think that’s a good idea.
“There are no jobs outstanding at the moment. If the job is reported then, provided they are in the scheme, they get done.”
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