Monday, 30 December 2013

Wasting public money

Earlier this month, Don’t Call Me Dave posted a blog about the Chigwell Parish Council newsletter Chigwell Pravda This is Chigwell. He questioned whether it was appropriate to spend 2.5% of the council’s annual budget producing this magazine. The answer is simple. No!

On 22nd December, DCMD received a copy of the Winter 2013 edition. The magazine listed a whole series of events taking place in November. It also carried an advertisement for a public Chanukah Menorah lighting on 4th December (a joint project of Chabad, the Chigwell & Hainault community and the parish council). What is the point in producing a magazine with event listings that are out of date before residents receive it? If Chabad was charged for the advertisement, DCMD hopes that the council will issue a full refund.

An article on page two contained a photograph of councillors Lesley Wagland and Brian Sandler at St Mary’s Church, and listed the Remembrance Day services attended by various other parish councillors. In the UK, Remembrance Sunday is one of the most solemn days of the year, respected by the overwhelming majority of the public in grateful thanks to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

However, given that these services were reported at the time in the local and national media, the article gives the appearance of councillors using a taxpayer funded magazine for self-promotion. We rightly expect our elected representatives to attend these services, but do we really have to pay to see pictures of them performing their civic duty? A more fitting and appropriate article would have mentioned the names of some of the Chigwell born service men and women who died in the service of their country.

Councils perform a wide range of statutory functions, but magazine publishing is not one of them. This is Chigwell should be scrapped to save money and trees.