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Revealed: Which Norfolk and Suffolk councils spent the most on awards

PUBLISHED: 14:14 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 21 February 2019

Councils have been criticised for the amount they spend on awards ceremonies  Picture: Andrew Papworth

Councils have been criticised for the amount they spend on awards ceremonies Picture: Andrew Papworth

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Councils have been criticised for spending millions on awards.

Local authorities have spent more than £6.5m on awards ceremonies over the last three years, according to a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

In Norfolk, the total adds up to £83,480.06. West Norfolk was the biggest spender, forking out £26,811.08.

Nationally, county councils are the biggest spenders. But while Suffolk County Council spent £94,777, Norfolk County Council’s awards spend was zero.

Across the region, the report reveals Breckland spent £10,665, Fenland £6,640, Forest Heath zero, Great Yarmouth £14,232.81, Mid Suffolk/Babergh £5,044.95 (jointly), North Norfolk £11,298.27, Norwich City Council zero, South Norfolk £20,472.90, St Edmundsbury zero, Suffolk Coastal £940.16 and Waveney £940.16.

Matthew Sinclair, director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which produced the report, said: “Taxpayers will be staggered that councils facing significant pressure on their finances are spending thousands of pounds on back-patting award ceremonies.

“Recognising staff who have done well doesn’t require this kind of extravagant spending.

“Some authorities have shown that they understand award ceremonies aren’t the right priority for money that is supposed to be spent on frontline services, but others need a reality check. Many items of spending like this are a small share of council’s total budgets but controlling these kinds of costs can add up to a better deal for families.”

A spokesman for West Norfolk council said there had been a marked reduction in spending on awards over the last three years. Amounts reduced from £11,341 to £6,295 a year, while the number of ceremonies had been cut from six to four.

She added: “In their entirety these awards cover all areas of the local community from voluntary service, to business growth and innovation, to great building design to local heroes.

“It is right that the efforts of local people are recognised for helping to make west Norfolk a great place to live, work and visit. Recipients of these awards feel valued and acknowledged. The awards help provide a great sense of community spirit.”

South Norfolk council said its figures included sponsorship which reduced the cost to the council by £6,400.

Suffolk County Council said the awards recognised a range of staff and volunteers.

“The awards events we have supported in the past three years recognise the valuable contributions made by Suffolk people and our staff,” a spokesman said.

“Examples include foster carers, firefighters, social workers, volunteers and those working in education. One such event celebrates achievements made by children in care.

“Costs are kept to a minimum and sponsorship is secured where possible. The efforts and dedication of these people help Suffolk to be a better place and we feel it’s right that we acknowledge the contribution they make.”

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