Decision over future of £50,000 Lichfield District Council civic fund delayed until 2016

A decision over the future of the £50,000 civic budget at Lichfield District Council has been delayed until the new year.

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

A meeting of the local authority this week will hear a report from the overview and scrutiny committee confirming that the civic function review will not be heard this year.

The money put aside to fund elements such as the chairman of the council’s chauffeur-driven transport was called into question earlier this year, with Labour opposition group leader Cllr Sue Woodward calling on colleagues of all political persuasions to think hard about how money should be spent.

“It’s down to every individual councillor to decide whether more than £50,000 spent on the civic role each year might be better spent on retaining things such as community transport,” she told LichfieldLive in September.

Much of the controversy centred around the £16,000-a-year spent on the chairman’s chauffeur-driven Jaguar XF.

Labour’s Cllr Eric Drinkwater said spending so much on civic duties in times of austerity was “crazy”, while Conservative Cllr Martyn Tittley insisted too many local authorities were frightened to ditch civic duties.

The overview and scrutiny committee meeting in November outlined a number of proposed changes, including:

  • The introduction of a scoring matrix to decide which civic functions should be attended
  • The leased chauffeur driven car be axed and replaced with a local vehicle provider
  • The overall number of civic engagements attended be reduced to 50

But a report from Cllr Robert Strachan, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, said: “It was noted that the civic function review report was no longer being considered by the Cabinet at their December meeting.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.