Row breaks out over £4,000 Telford council awards trip to Edinburgh

A squabble has broken out between Telford councillors after more than £4,000 was spent on travelling to an awards ceremony.

Councillor Andrew Eade and Telford & Wrekin council leader Shaun Davies
Councillor Andrew Eade and Telford & Wrekin council leader Shaun Davies

Two councillors, including council leader Shaun Davies, and eight members of staff from Telford & Wrekin Council attended the Association for Public Service Excellence awards in Edinburgh, in which Telford & Wrekin Council were shortlisted in six separate categories.

The councillors missed a cabinet meeting in September to attend, but ultimately came away with one of the awards for its work on the Land Deal.

Leader of the opposition Councillor Andrew Eade has said it was wrong the money was spent on a "backslapping knees-up".

But Councillor Davies has hit back at the response, saying it is "hypocritical in the extreme".

A freedom of information request submitted by Councillor Eade revealed that £1,319 had been spent on transport for the trip, and another £1,250 on accommodation. There was also a cost of £1,690 to attend the awards event itself.

"It is bad enough having the council leader and other key councillors missing from an important Telford & Wrekin Cabinet Meeting, but to find out that that the reason was nothing more than a backslapping knees-up at the tax payer's expense is wholly unacceptable," Councillor Eade said.

"We are continually told that the council is cash strapped due to austerity but it seems that they managed to find money to spend on a night out to try and receive some meaningless awards.

"Yet again we see our money thrown down the drain on vanity projects at a time when our services need every penny they can get.”

Councillor Shaun Davies said more than 50 local authorities of all political persuasions had attended the event.

"The council unfortunately had no control over the choice of location of the awards ceremony or the setting of the cost of attending the ceremony," he said. "Over 50 other local authorities of all political persuasions were also in attendance. As a direct result of this event a number of potential income generation leads are being followed up.

"It is deeply disappointing that Councillor Eade continues to oppose our efforts to offset the impact of devastating Government cuts and belittle the efforts of staff who are being recognised nationally for their work towards that aim.

"Councillor Eade is also hypocritical in the extreme as during his time as leader of the council he authorised spending for himself and other conservative councillors to attend similar events."

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