A weekly newspaper has won praise for a monthly column which scrutinises council spending.
The Southport-based Champion Newspaper has introduced ‘Sefton Council Spending Watch’ to give readers an insight into how their taxes are being spent following new transparency laws – which force local authorities to publish all spends of over £500 on their websites.
Reporter David Raven writes the column each month detailing financial expenditure by the council, from money given to police and fire authorities and contributions for waste regulation down to amounts paid for photocopying and postage.
The column has won the praise of the TaxPayers’ Alliance which said it was ‘fantastic’ the newspaper was boosting transparency.
Champion group editor Malcolm Hindle said: “It’s important the public know just what their local council is spending ‘their’ hard earned cash on.
“The ‘Spending Watch’ column has already raised a few eyebrows, and we like to think it’s doing its bit to keep councils in check.
“After all, it’s our money and we have a right to know where it’s going.”
Emma Boon, campaign director for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Gold medals all round – it’s absolutely fantastic that The Champion is doing its bit for transparency by publishing this column.
“We were delighted when councils started publishing their spending online – it’s something that we’ve campaigned for long and hard – but not everyone has access to the internet so it’s good to know those that don’t won’t miss out.”