ABC Council defends £162,188.67 spent on award ceremonies over three years

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Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council has defended its £162,188.67 spending on award ceremonies over the past three years.

After a probe by the Taxpayers Alliance, it was found that NI councils spend three times more on award ceremonies than their UK counterparts.

And ABC Council had the second-highest spend of all 419 councils across Britain and Northern Ireland.

Local authorities in NI paid out more than £600,000 on awards ceremonies since 2015 – an average of about £61,000 per council.

The figure is more than three-and-a-half times the £16,844 average spend per council in Britain.

Across the UK, councils spent more than £6m on award ceremonies between 2015-16 and 2017-18 with an average cost per council of about £18k.

Councils in England spent £5,142,301 while Scottish local authorities spent £650,215 and in Wales the cost was £203,825.

Derbyshire County Council in England had the largest spend of all the councils with £218,482.81, followed by ABC Council with £162,188.67.

A spokesperson for the Council told the Mail,

“These 11 significant events held since the new council was formed in April 2015 have been well received, attended and supported by individuals and groups representing local businesses, community and sporting organisations right across the borough.

“The figures quoted by TaxPayers’ Alliance only represent the total cost before the value of ticket sales and private sector sponsorship was taken into account.”

Alderman Arnold Hatch and Lord Mayor (Cllr) Julie Flaherty defended the council.

Cllr Hatch said: “The expenditure over three years by the council all on award ceremonies may seem excessive. Yet the TPA does not take into account the amount of sponsorship raised to deliver these ceremonies.”

Cllr Flaherty added: “If we can do things better and indeed cheaper then of course we should. But as it stands, it is money well spent with a legacy worth more than just the financial cost”