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Ealing and Northfield

Modest changes to comms budget

Another area of council spending which has had a relatively easy time is the communications budget of £1,474K. You might think this would be an electorally popular cut to make and it certainly counts in the backoffice category rather than the frontline.

The cuts here have been a little opaque and in fact were stated twice and then withdrawn after I pointed it out to the chief executive. Labour will be taking out £250K or 17% from this budget – not 50% then like the frontline areas that Labour is targeting.

You can see why the Labour team want a buffer of comms people around them but this really was the time to change the council’s approach to comms. Rather than paying a team to mould the message we should simply be giving the portfolio holders’ mobile numbers to the press and letting them get on with it. I think that residents are past wanting to pay to help councillors look good. If they can’t handle the press, let’s find out.