MONEY-burning Redditch Borough Council has come under fire after spending £18,610 on fireworks alone this year.
Mark Barron of Batchley Support Group (BSG) discovered the figure after submitting an FOI request to the cash-strapped authority, which has to find £1.2million in savings by the next financial year.
It comes after the borough council tried to push through the removal of all rent subsides for local charities occupying council properties – without any prior consultation.
Mr Barron, who is BSG’s community development manager, said: “I heard leader of the council, Matt Dormer, say on Redditch Standard’s podcast that fireworks at Arrow Valley Park cost the council £12,000.
“I knew this didn’t ring true so I checked out the number for myself.
“I also found that Morton Stanley Festival cost the council £23,600 – totalling £42,210 which could be saved instead of coming after the Voluntary and Comunity Sector (VCS) first.
“In light of the financial problems at RBC and the proposed rent cuts, is this money really being well spent?”
Mr Barron said the council could potentially make a profit by introducing an entrance fee, for as little as £5, at these type of events where thousands attend.
And he says any extra savings could then be passed on to the VCS to ‘avoid all these cuts’.
The council raised around £400 for the VCS by bucket collecting at the event, seen by many as a way of ‘softening the blow’.
Coun Dormer said the cost of the fireworks and Morton Stanley were covered by the council’s Parks and Events budget and he was working on plans to charge for events in the future.
“We will be looking to charge a nominal fee and it will all go to VCS, that’s my goal.
“And if we can do that without touching the council’s purse it could potentially bring in a lot of money for the sector, more than they’ve been getting.”