£3,000 council video slammed as ‘propaganda’

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A five-minute video outlining plans to slash council services in a cost-saving mission has been slammed as “propaganda”.

The council-made film, which cost £3,000 to produce, has been viewed on YouTube by just 300 people in three weeks.

Councillor Chris Williams told the Citizen: “I believe this video is propaganda.

“It only gives people one side of what is proposed, without showing what the effects of the budget will be.

“At a time when the council is having to remove services to save money, they have spent £3,000 on a propaganda video and £20,000 on making senior staff feel better with inspirational speakers.”

Mr Williams believes plans to save £22million for next year’s spending and £70million by 2020 will be “detrimental to the disadvantaged”.

He said: “Labour is the group that stole Christmas.

“They have stolen it for individuals and organisations that help people who need it most. It is just wrong.

“Our group’s view is that we must oppose this budget because it is detrimental to so many of the disadvantaged people in Milton Keynes.

“Their proposals are to help the rich at the expense of the poor.”

But Council Leader Pete Marland says he recommends everyone watch the video as it helps explain the challenges the city faces over the next few years.

He said: “This year we are doing things differently, for example we are doing roadshows across the borough for the first time and we are using YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to listen to what our citizens have to say.

“The video we are using is part of a consultation and helps explain our 2020 Budget Challenge to our citizens. Feedback has been very positive.

“ The video is being used at all our roadshows, four internal roadshows, as well as in partner meetings.”

He added that the council has already nearly had more comments on the budget in a few weeks than many previous years combined, but reiterated it is a draft budget.

No final decision will be taken until February 2015.