Lambeth Green Party councillor Scott Ainslie has criticised Lambeth Council’s decision to spend £3 million on their internal PR agency Lambeth Communications , calling their decision “shocking” and “a slap in the face for all residents”.
The annual cost would pay for basic library services at Carnegie and Minet “more than three times over”.
Lambeth Communications was set up by the Council as a neutral cost ‘communications trading service’ in July 2014 . This month, however, the Council announced the costly decision to employ external contractors to the project, meaning it will no longer even be drawing on existing staff.
This spending spree comes three months after the People’s Audit was published. The report highlighted numerous spending issues in Lambeth, including over-spends on building contractors and the spiralling costs of the new Town Hall .
Councillor Scott Ainslie said:
"The basic combined cost of running Carnegie and Minet Libraries in Lambeth before they closed was approximately £300,000 a year . This money would pay their bills more than three times over.
How dare Lambeth Labour say there is no money to keep our libraries open, refurbish our estates or save frontline services when they lavish this sort of spend to prop up their own failings? It's nothing short of a slap in the face for all Lambeth residents. It's time Labour stopped spending money on peddling their fake news and started spending it the things that matter. Labour-led Lambeth Council needs a clean, green broom."
Herne Hill Green Party Campaigner, Nick Christian added:
“Lambeth Council persistently claim that their coffers are empty whenever residents raise concerns about library closures or council estate demolitions. However money magically materialises for their own vanity projects. Not only do we have to contend with the expense of the New Town Hall, whose estimated cost has risen to £104 million , but now this self-indulgent PR spree as well."
(“the council’s 2014-15 budget gives a combined running cost for both
of £874 a day. This excludes spending on books and computer services,
but those are paid for centrally for all of Lambeth’s 10 libraries, and
the council has said it has no plans to cut them.”)