Public funds used to send delegates, as council tax bills rise across the country
Several UK councils have come under fire for using public funds to send delegates to an alcohol-soaked property conference on the French Riviera. The Mipim conference in Cannes, which took place in March, saw dozens of town hall officials spending three days in the sunshine while households across the country braced themselves for steep increases in their council tax bills.
At least £138,299.57 of public funds was spent by councils attending the conference, with further spending by taxpayer-backed organisations. Critics argue that the money should have been spent on essential services instead. Labour-run Manchester City council used £68,593.10 of public funds to send delegates to the event, which recently bumped up council tax by five percent.
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Council officials were photographed drinking wine and beer, as well as going for rounds of golf, while delegations from different UK regions, including council officials, were photographed on the beach. UK quangos, Whitehall departments and devolved governments were also in attendance, including the Department for Business and Trade, Homes England, the Welsh Government, and the devolved governments of London and the West Midlands.
Critics argue that the use of public funds for attending the luxury property conference is inappropriate, especially in light of rising council tax bills. Elliot Keck of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said, “Council tax has just gone up yet again across the country, and taxpayers will want to know why councils still can’t show restraint on overseas trips.” Councils maintain that attendance at such events is necessary for attracting investment and promoting growth in their regions.