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Documentaries, society

How Councils Waste Your Money

YEAR: 2013 | LENGTH: 1 part (30 minutes)  |  SOURCE: CHANNEL4

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Councils across the UK have annual budgets in the tens of billions of pounds. But do you know what they really spend it on?

About 60 per cent of council budgets come from central government, with the remainder raised by business rates and council tax payers.

Much of this is spent on vital and valuable services such as social care and education. But an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches reveals some spending that local authorities across the UK wished you didn’t know about, from expensive cars to foreign trips and from five-star hotels to golf lessons.

The programme’s findings are based on hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, which offer a glimpse into how councils spend our money.

Reporter Antony Barnett interviews Lord Hanningfield about his extravagant spending during his time as the Essex council leader.

The programme reveals the councillor who lives 70 miles from his constituents but whose party still claims an allowance, and also discloses the millions spent on gagging council workers so they don’t spill the beans.