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Suffolk County Council spent £95,000 on award ceremonies over three years

PUBLISHED: 05:00 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:04 21 February 2019

The Raising the Bar awards were one of those included in the Suffolk figure. Cabinet member Gordon Jones at last year's event. Picture: WARREN PAGE

The Raising the Bar awards were one of those included in the Suffolk figure. Cabinet member Gordon Jones at last year's event. Picture: WARREN PAGE

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Suffolk County Council spent almost £95,000 over the last three years on awards events to recognise people in the county according to new figures from the Taxpayers' Alliance.

The authority is one of the biggest spenders in the region when it comes to awards ceremonies – which include the Raising The Bar awards and the Suffolk Fire Awards.

Essex County Council did not tell the Alliance how much it spent on awards ceremonies.

The figures for Suffolk come from 2015-2018 – during that period the average spent on awards by local councils was £18,000 each although that includes district councils which are much smaller than counties.

In Suffolk Mid Suffolk and Babergh each spent just over £5,000 on awards ceremonies during the same period and Waveney and Suffolk Coastal spent £940 each. St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath spent nothing while Ipswich spent the princely sum of £26.20.

Tendring Council in Essex spent nearly £10,500 while Colchester council spent £5,000 during the three-year period.

Across the country, councils spent more than £6.5m on award ceremonies over the three-year period.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said the awards recognised a range of staff and volunteers: “The awards events we have supported in the past three years recognise the valuable contributions made by Suffolk people and our staff.

“Examples include foster carers, fire fighters, social workers, volunteers and those working in education. One such event celebrates achievements made by children in care.

“Costs are kept to a minimum and sponsorship is secured where possible. The efforts and dedication of these people help Suffolk to be a better place and we feel it’s right that we acknowledge the contribution they make.”

Taxpayers’ Alliance chief executive John O’Connell said: “There’s nothing wrong with congratulating staff who work hard or celebrating local businesses, but councils should prioritise the essential services that they are paid to provide.

“It’s encouraging to see that so many councils were successful in negotiating sponsorship arrangements to pay for some ceremonies, and all local authorities in the UK should seek to do the same.”

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