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Councils use £1.2m on award events

Councils are spending more than £1.2 million a year on awards ceremonies, it has been revealed.

The bill for events such as Loo of the Year and the British Parking Awards was disclosed in figures assembled by campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance.

Glasgow City Council was the biggest spender on tickets, accommodation, travel and catering in 2010-11, with a total layout of £83,000.

Fife either hosted or attended 34 ceremonies, while 115 town halls said they did not incur any costs. Among the most popular competitions was the Local Government Chronicle Awards, while another was cryptically titled "The Magic of Motown".

The total bill across the UK is likely to be higher than £1.2 million as many councils responded to freedom of information requests by saying they could not provide data.

TaxPayers' Alliance spokesman Matthew Sinclair 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."

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "Awards ceremonies help to recognise and share good practice in the public sector, and they present excellent opportunities to heighten the city's profile.

"For example, the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative awards event showcased some of the many hundreds of successful young people in Glasgow who now have a bright future ahead of them thanks to Glasgow City Council and businesses in the city and beyond.

"Glasgow City Council is by far the biggest local authority in Scotland, and the total spend on events has to be seen in the context of our annual budget of around £2.5 billion."

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