From the TUC

The Taxpayers Alliance attack council PR

12 Dec 2008, by in Economics

Once again the Taxpayers Alliance are all over the media. Today’s claim is that councils are spending millions on ‘spin’ through an analysis of council’s PR budgets. But this is even more thinly based than most TPA reports. Councils have a statutory duty to advertise things like planning applications – hardly spin. Nor do I think the leaflet that comes through my door at this time of year telling me when the bins will be emptied over Christmas is propaganda, simply useful information.

Interestingly the Conservative Local Government Spokesman Eric Pickles has endorsed TPA arguments (even though most councils are Conservative controlled.) The Daily Express reports him saying that Labour had failed to crack down on town hall propaganda, which puts him in the odd position of attacking a Labour government for not controlling from the centre what Conservative councils do locally. I seem to remember a time when the Conservatives argued that Labour was too centralist and top-down. This new position is unlikely to go down well in Britain’s Town Halls.

But perhaps the Local Government Association are in the running for one of our coveted “They Just Don’t Get It” awards. Their reaction – again from the Express – was:

“Mothers need to know when they can take their children to the swimming pool.

“Elderly people need to know the benefits they are eligible for. Which part of this would the TaxPayers’ Alliance like to see cut?”

The answer to that simple question is ‘all of it’.