Medals move sparks row over cost

MOVES to award silver-gilt medals to long-serving councillors as an authority in Yorkshire battles to cut costs have been condemned.

Councillors on Hull Council's civic committee are recommending

that honorary aldermen should get the awards, consisting of the city's three crowns encircled by a wreath of leaves, as a mark of their service.

Council leader Carl Minns said: "I think it's nuts. If the civic committee have that much money floating about I'm quite happy to take it off them for budget savings. I can't believe that councillors in this building think this is an appropriate use of taxpayers' money at any time let alone in the current situation."

The council is facing 50m budget cuts next year. More than 100 people have taken voluntary redundancy and more are expected to leave in the New Year.

But Hull's Lord Mayor, Councillor David Gemmell, defended the badges, saying: "It is just some recognition of the service they give because they are not well paid and they put a lot of effort into the community for very little payback and a lot of flak."

And former Lord Mayor Coun John Fareham said it was little more than a "cheap smokescreen" to disguise Lib-Dem "incompetence" over its handling of issues such as the collapse of the social housing firm Connaught.

Hull currently has more than 20 honorary aldermen, a title conferred for 12 years' council service.