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£6,000 video to help decide Redbridge Council cuts

PUBLISHED: 12:10 12 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:17 12 December 2014

Screengrab of the Redbridge Conversation video.

Screengrab of the Redbridge Conversation video.

Archant

The leader of Redbridge Council has defended the authority spending almost £6,000 on an online video outlining how it plans to make £70million worth of cuts.

Cllr Jas Athwal said the £70million Challenge video, which cost £5,627 to make, was “necessary in getting the message across”.

But it has attracted criticism from some community leaders.

Redbridge Pensioners Forum chairman John Coombes said: “It’s out of order. A lot of people concerned about cuts won’t have access to even see the video, especially some elderly and disabled people.”

The video, which was published last week, has had just over 250 views after it was posted to the council YouTube channel which has nine subscribers.

Cllr Athwal said: “What we have done here is really try to help people understand the message so all residents can get their opinions aired.

“We can’t have a situation where we can’t reach the people and we thought that this would be ideal.”

He added: “We’ve spent a lot more in the past – we’re saving £850,000 on area committees so there’s a huge cost that was never taken into account and now we’ve got this empirical sum of £5,627.”

A council FAQ detailing the video cost – which has since been removed from its website – read: “Although this is an initial cost, we also expect to use this animation in future years with minor changes to update it, costs to do this would be minimal.”

Conservative group leader, Cllr Paul Canal said: “I’m not sure that a Teletubby style animation is the way to go because it’s a really serious issue.”

Cllr Gwyneth Deakins said: “It’s not much money in the grand scale of things but it’s the impression it gives and the message it puts across – it undermines their own message.”

More than 500 online responses have been submitted to the council’s consultation over budget cuts, with suggestions from the public including spending less on education overall and increasing fines for dropping litter.

The consultation ends on December 22. Visit redbridge.gov.uk for more information.


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