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Council cuts 17 jobs but decides in secret to pay consultants for city status bid

In a move Liberal Democrats called ‘completely mad’ Luton Council’s Labour executive decided on Monday 12th July to engage expensive consultants to help in a bid to the government for Luton to be called a city and in the same meeting to cull 17 jobs and cut spending by £4.5M.

Liberal Democrat leader, David Franks, says the decision to appoint the consultants was taken in the public part of the meeting but the Executive Committee excluded members of the public before disclosing how much they intended to pay them.

“Because of the Council’s secrecy rules I am not allowed to say how much they propose to spend,” David Franks told this newspaper, “but we have to ask whether this time of severe service cuts is the right time to commit public money to pay outside consultants in a bid to allow Luton to call itself a city.”

“Of course city status would bring prestige and a much needed boost to the town’s image, but with looming cuts in the road safety budgets, an eventual end to free swimming and reductions in summer activities for children, this is no time to splash out on consultants’ fees for a luxury we cannot afford. The sum they have set aside for this project is substantial.”

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