Peter Golds: Spending should be transparent

By Jon Massey on August 29, 2012 2:21 PM |

By Peter Golds

aa-nov25-Golds142WEBBY.jpgMany people will now be aware of the banners and posters outlining the "successes" of the council, somewhat like those that used to be seen on May Day in Soviet Moscow detailing the infamous tractor statistics. When you pay your council tax you may be interested to know that the banners cost £41,800 and the posters £35,547.

Obtaining this information from Tower Hamlets Council has been increasingly difficult as it is often designated private and confidential.

When I asked for costings about the banner that covered the mural known as The Crane of Brick Lane with a picture of the mayor, I was given the details but cannot reveal them as the response was marked private.

As this episode had been extensively covered in the media and the cost was clearly in the public interest, it was ludicrous trying to prevent this being revealed to taxpayers.

A few days ago the Government published an order, entitled "The Local Authorities access to meetings and information regulations" which makes local authorities provide more access to meetings and documents.

This aspect of localism will reduce Tower Hamlets Council's constant attempt to muzzle legitimate questions about how they spend public money.

■ Peter Golds is Conservative councillor for Blackwall and Cubitt Town.