Islington Council spends �10,000 in one day... on stamps

CASH-strapped Islington Council bosses blew �10,000 in one day – on first-class stamps.

The council is currently facing the deepest Government funding cut since 1945 - but it still decided to send out 27,300 letters to residents telling them about their new flagship parking policy. All the letters were sent first-class – making the total postage bill a staggering �9,828.

This comes at a time when, because of deep Government cutbacks, Labour-run Islington Council needs to find around �100million in savings between 2011 and 2015.

So far, planned cuts including axing hanging baskets, getting rid of Christmas lights and making 281 redundancies.

The opposition Liberal Democrats claim that the council only had to send out the letters first-class because it did not put them in the post until the week commencing December 20 – during the height of the Christmas rush.

The letters, sent to everyone with an Islington Council parking permit, explains the new “roamer” policy – which is set to come into action on January 31 and will allow permit holders to park for free anywhere in the borough between 10am and 2pm.

Councillor Arthur Graves, Lib-Dem environment spokesman, said: “The letters are dated December 17 but the council didn’t send them until a week later, thus needing to send them first-class to meet the deadline! The council is supposed to be hard up for cash. It’s hard to take the Labour council seriously when you see them wasting taxpayers’ money like this.”

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Islington Council has pointed out that the figure of �9,828 covers the entire cost of sending out the letters – not just the stamps – and that this is less than the �11,000 that was budgeted.

Councillor Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “We have gone to the trouble of writing to every resident in the normal fashion. The only reason the Lib-Dems are complaining about that is because they don’t like people being given the facts about the scheme. I think spending �11,000 to tell people about a scheme that’s going to save them money is a worthwhile thing.

“The council is on the side of residents who want to have more parking freedom. It’s time the Lib-Dems got on the side of residents and supported this scheme.”