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Fury over claims taxpayers' money went on 'propaganda'
MORE than £34,000 of taxpayers' money has gone on a Worcestershire County Council campaign to tell people where their cash is going - with critics attacking it as "blatant political propaganda".
The cash-strapped authority has launched a four-month long campaign called 'You said, we did' which has seen bus shelters across Worcestershire covered with posters.
The huge marketing effort aims to tell people what the council's main priorities are, citing helping businesses, supporting children and families, protecting the environment and health.
But the posters have been described as "wasteful" by pressure group the Taxpayers Alliance and "stupid" by the opposition Labour group, which is calling for an investigation by the council's spending watchdog, the audit committee.
Around £100 million is being cut from spending over the next four years and 1,500 jobs are expected to be axed.
The council insists the money was well spent because it informs people what the main focus of the leadership is.
Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: "At a time of major cutbacks to much needed services and over one 1,500 employees facing the cut, the council is throwing away hard working families’ council tax on this ridiculous campaign to the tune of £34,200.
‘You said we did’, is a barmy campaign, it is as far from the truth as you can get.
"The people of Worcestershire have been protesting about the cuts to our libraries, buses, youth provision, social care, yet no service has been spared.
"The public purse should never be used to fund such propaganda."
The Taxpayers Alliance says most voters would rather money spent on services.
A spokesman said: "If you ask ordinary people, they want their taxes to go on services, not PR.
"Councils have been getting away with this for too long."
The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people, and say it is the "most cost effective" way of making contact.
The campaign also features on the council's website and is advertised on posters inside the main County Hall headquarters.
A spokesman for the council said: "It is important the council continues to listen to local people and to inform them how taxpayers' money is being spent.
"The council's four priorities were informed by talking with approximately 35,000 residents and businesses.
"The council is providing feedback on its delivery against these four priorities, which local people said were important.
"The poster sites have been selected in areas which will be seen by a high volume of people, making this an efficient method of communicating with a large audience."
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