TOWN Hall chiefs spent £1,147 on awards ceremonies over the past 12 months, a new report has revealed.
Critics at the Taxpayers Alliance, a right-wing pressure group who obtained the findings under the Freedom of Information Act, says nationwide council spending on such ceremonies demonstrated local authorities still have much to do to bring unnecessary spending under control.
However, the St Helens figure is dwarfed by Glasgow Council, which splashed out a staggering £83,000 hosting and attending awards ceremonies during the 2010/11 financial year.
The biggest item on St Helens expenditure was a £340 bill for NW Skills Award Celebration.
A council spokesman defended the cash outlay, insisting any money spent was an investment in the borough.
He added: “Attendance at awards ceremonies is strictly controlled. Occasionally it’s fitting that council staff receive due praise for initiatives or quality of work that benefits the wider St Helens community.
“St Helens Council has won many awards over the years, which have often helped to create positive impressions of the borough and, in turn, generate increased investment.”
Among the more bizarre ceremonies receiving taxpayers cash from other local authorities were the Green Apple of the Year awards and the prestigious Loo of the Year bash.
A spokesman for the Taxpayers Alliance said: “With pressure on the budgets of local authorities and council tax having doubled over the past decade, councils need to do all they can to control unnecessary spending and deliver better value for money.
“While councils should look to recognise strong performance by staff, one area of waste that has been anecdotally reported is excessive spending on award ceremonies.”