Stevenage councillor slams Hertfordshire magazine
A NEW glossy magazine paid for by about �20,000 of taxpayers money and published on the eve of major public spending cuts has been labelled “ludicrous” by a county councillor.
The magazine, iN Hertfordshire, launched last week and was jointly published by a group that includes Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Constabulary and NHS Hertfordshire.
iN Hertfordshire was designed to raise awareness about alcohol abuse but also features fashion tips and meditation advice.
Robin Parker, Liberal Democrat councillor for Stevenage, said: “It’s ridiculous. There’s far too many glossy colour sheets coming out of Hertfordshire County Council or, in this case, Hertfordshire Police, being paid for by council tax.
“My group has said that this should be cut down and we shouldn’t have to pay for it.
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“I’m not having a go at the police authority, because they do a lot of good work, but this is ludicrous.”
All contributors did so free of charge but the magazine costs 40p per issue to produce and 50,000 were made, with a total approximate cost of �20,000.
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David Kearns, a Labour district councillor for Letchworth GC, said of the magazine: “That is something that will have to go.
“If you talk to everyone who is in North Herts, and that includes Stevenage, the council and county hall are so remote from the county.
“If you take the council away you wouldn’t know what they’re doing.”
Superintendent Jon Chapman said: “Alcohol abuse costs the public in Hertfordshire millions of pounds each year, not to mention the very real damage to individuals’ lives and health it causes.
“Every day police, health and other partners are called to deal with the fallout of excess drinking across the county.
“Precious resources are wasted and this publication is one of many positive multi-agency measures taken by police, health and the county council aimed at making drinkers think twice and take better care of themselves.
“The cost of this publication pales into insignificance when compared to the costs of alcohol misuse.
“If this new way of getting the message out to people can help save even one person’s life, it’s worth every penny.”
The pilot issue was distributed across the county in libraries, health centres, police stations and is also available online at http://www.hertsdirect.org/caresupport/crimedrugs/alcmagec
Campaign group, the TaxPayers Alliance, said: “Now is not the time to pilot an expensive glossy magazine, and no more should be spent on this project.
“The Government is planning serious spending cuts, and Hertfordshire will have to look for ways to make savings too.
“Across the UK local councils spend way too much taxpayers’ money on publicity. Taxpayers want to see good quality local services for their money, not glossy magazines.”