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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The funding of community debate and consultation - an uneven playing field in Wolverhampton?

For the last few months, we have had an interesting debate going on in Wolverhampton, which has now reached a city-wide response. We are talking of the Labour-council's proposals to create community hubs, whereby library, welfare and youth facilities are rationalised in the name of efficiency and cost-saving. We are in the middle of the consultation.

I notice that the latest edition of the Chronicle - a local freebie paper - carries a quarter page ad from the council, inviting residents to have their say about these hubs. Nothing wrong with that as a principle, but it raises the issue of an uneven playing field when it comes to the funding of the debate. Councillors and their officials get their message across via a publicly-funded budget, the rest of us have to dig into our pockets.