A cash-strapped council has been slammed for splashing out over £10,000 on a DVD showing tenants how to change a LIGHTBULB – which hasn’t even been released.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council approved the production of the instructional video in 2012, in the hope that it would help save £2 million in housing repair costs.
But two years later the DVD – which also offers advice on other minor repairs – is still awaiting ‘final approval’ by town hall chiefs.
Now campaigners and local residents have criticised the authority for splashing out the “extortionate” amount at a time they are looking to make £97 million worth of savings from their budget.
John Caulkin, chairman of Eaton Park Residents’ Association, in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., fumed: “It’s taken longer to release than the production of a Hollywood film.
“I find it incredible that they can spend that sort of money on that and then be so lax as to let the two-year delay occur.
“Seeing them throw money at things like the Chelsea Flower Show is absolutely disgusting when you look at the vital services the city council has to provide which are under threat.”
Grandfather-of-two Don Jacobs, 78, who lives in a council house in Stoke-on-Trent added: “It’s appalling that this much money has been wasted on a DVD that hasn’t even been released yet.
“They need to get their priorities right. I just can’t believe they would be so wasteful with that much cash. Its an extortionate amount.”
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Far too much of taxpayers’ money is wasted, keeping taxes high and taking precious resources away from essential services.
“Its time for a war on waste.”
But yesterday leaders at the Labour-run authority defended their spending decisions.
Council leader Mohammed Pervez said: “We’d like to remind the Taxpayers’ Alliance that we have been battling against the government’s austerity measures for the last four years, and have been forced to take incredibly difficult decisions in saving around £97m.
“Despite this we have managed to protect most of our services.”
Joy Garner, cabinet member for housing, said the DVD would be released once it received final approval, but was unable to say when that would be.
She said: “This £10,000 investment, which represents just 0.014 per cent of our annual housing revenue budget, is not a waste of resources.
“It will save money in future and enable our teams to get to tenants who really need our help with urgent or complex maintenance problems in their homes.
“It’s taken time to complete the production process for the DVD and get the information exactly right, taking into account feedback from tenants’ and residents’ groups about how the content should be presented.”