Questions asked over replica mayoral chain
The Labour group on Banbury Town Council has expressed regret at backing a council decision to purchase a replica mayoral chain at a cost of up to £10,000.
At a meeting of the council’s resources committee on Tuesday, which discussed the budget for the forthcoming financial year, Labour Group leader Steve Kilsby said in the light of the latest figures his party regretted the decision made last year to splash out up to £10,000 on a replica chain.
The replica would be used by the mayor for out-of-hours engagements in a bid to protect the security of the authentic chain which is worth £25,000.
Addressing the meeting Cllr Kilsby said: “My feeling is if the Labour Group had looked at this again we probably would have voted differently.
Labour Councillor SeanWoodcock added: “We’re seeing here how the council is struggling to balance budgets and my concern is whether this is the right time to be spending a lot of money on a piece of fake regalia.”
Conservative leader Kieron Mallon defended the decision to purchase the replica chain.
“Our civic regalia is irreplaceable. The chain dates to 1874. If you compare it to other towns it is second to none. Without cutting anything else from the budget and without raising council tax, we decided to look at the possibility of creating a replica. That went through the full council meetings and there was no opposition until now.”
The committee also approved the council’s annual provision of £30,000 in grants to Banbury community groups.
Councillor Mallon said the council should be “immensely proud” it gives out such a “significant amount of money” to community causes and that the annual spend on grants has not decreased in recent years despite government budget cuts.
Allocations include £10,000 for Banbury CAB, £2,500 for The Hill Youth Centre and £5,000 for the Friends of Frank Wise School.
The grants allocation will be approved at a full council meeting on Tuesday, March 5.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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