The Wages of Spin….
It is no exaggeration to say that Reading Borough Council is suffering something of a financial crisis at the moment. It is massively overspent this year and looking for savings and then facing a very tight central Government settlement next financial year.
It is all the more surprising therefore to read that the Council’s spending on self-promotion has jumped by 84% in a year. According to the independent Tax-Payers’ Alliance survey, in 2006/07 Reading Borough Council spent £658,516 on self promotion but in the last full financial year 2007/08 this jumped to a massive £1,212,423. Reading ranked fourth in the country for the percentage size of its increase and eleventh for its actual increase of £553,907. Reading also spent the most of any authority in Berkshire on Council spin.
Now it is always possible that the Taxpayers’ Alliance have made some elementary mistake but I think it is unlikely. I doubt the people of Reading would feel that this level of self-promotion was justified or appropriate in the current economic climate.