TOWN hall bosses have defended spending taxpayers’ cash on switching this year’s Wirral mayor-making venue to New Brighton's Floral Pavilion.
The ceremony to install a councillor as the borough's civic leader had been traditionally held at Wallasey Town Hall.
But for the first time, it was moved to the Floral - with council leader Phil Davies declaring at the time: “The Pavilion is a nice venue and holding mayor making there will make for a more enjoyable experience. I don't really see the move as a big issue.”
A Freedom of Information request this week has shown the total cost for the event in May was more than £5,000.
Tory councillor Leah Fraser rapped: “After tarting up the town hall at a cost of thousands of pounds they decide to go elsewhere for mayor-making – it’s outrageous.
“We have a lovely town hall where mayor-making has been held since the beginning of the authority.
"The switch was a total waste of money.
“At a time when they are looking to reduce staff, how will people facing job losses feel when they see money being splashed out for councillors to enjoy themselves?”
Chief executive Graham Burgess said: "The Floral Pavilion is owned by Wirral Council and is a top-class conference venue with excellent facilities.
“It therefore makes sense for us to host the mayor-making ceremony there.
“We’ve published the full costs to the council of the event, which are similar to previous years and very modest compared to other areas of the country.”
Meanwhile Mr Burgess has defended the spending of £50,000 on corporate hospitality at the Open Golf Championship at Hoylake.
He insisted it would lead to jobs and investment in the borough.
Mr Burgess said independent studies had shown the wider economic impact on the local economy to be worth around £75m.
He observed: “It’s a tiny investment compared with to what we have got.”
The authority paid more than £17,000 on 250 tickets to the tournament as well as £30,000 on food and drink.
The council used a hospitality suite, provided free of charge by the Open’s organisers the R&A, to entertain potential investors in Wirral.
Mr Burgess said a series of business events were hosted there by the local authority.
During this time he said The Open saw the announcement of 100 new jobs being created by the Birkenhead-based call centre provider the Contact Company.
Mr Burgess said: “We would say that even for the 100 jobs announced that is £478 per job, and hopefully there will be more announcements taking place in the next several months as a direct result of meetings held by business guests invited by the council during the Open.”