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Tories accuse Labour of wasting cash by not buying cleaning machines
A political spat has broken out over the money spent by Bradford Council on hiring street-sweeping machines.
The Conservative group has accused the Council’s Labour leaders of wasting almost half a million pounds on renting the machines, when the money could have been used to buy them instead. But Labour said the leases were actually taken out by the previous Tory administration.
The hire of six street-sweepers had cost the authority £454,000 since April last year. The cost has been revealed by the leader of Bradford Council’s Conservative group, who said he was shocked at the amount being spent.
Councillor Glen Miller (Worth Valley) said he had asked how much the Council spent on renting equipment after a Council worker raised concerns that money was being wasted on the routine hire of tools.
He said: “A Council employee tells me he thinks it’s farcical that they could be hiring a drill when they could be buying a drill.” Coun Miller said the £454,000 spent on hiring street-sweepers equated to half of a per cent on people’s council tax bills.
He called the reliance on leased machines “illogical and uneconomical”. He said: “Whilst I recognise that these are expensive pieces of equipment, I cannot help but wonder how it happened. If we are going to spend the same again over the next eighteen months, the best part of a million pounds will have been spent hiring equipment over three years, when it would surely have been more cost-effective to buy however many street-sweepers that sort of money purchases and own them outright.”
Coun Miller said the Council had spent a further a further £37,000 spent on general tool hire.
He added: “I am quite shocked at what goes on.”
But Councillor Andrew Thornton (Lab), executive member for environment, said six of the Council’s 26 street-sweepers are on long-term hire contracts. The other 20 machines are either owned outright or have been bought on credit.
He said: “All of the ones that are on long-term contract hire were taken out under the last Conservative administration.”
Coun Thornton said the contracts, which were taken out in 2008-09, would soon have run their course.
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