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Kent County Council should reveal monthly spending statements

Kent County Council logo
Kent County Council logo

Kent County Council is facing a call to reveal more about how it spends taxpayers' money by publishing monthly financial statements.

Opposition Liberal Democrats at County Hall will press the ruling Tory administration this week to detail all revenue expenditure over £1,000 on a regular basis.

The party will point to the lead taken by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Greater London Authority, which already publishes monthly accounts to improve openness and transparency.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne has already announced the Conservative Party will force town halls to be much more open about council spending if it forms the next government.

Lib Dem Cllr Tim Prater said it would be relatively straightforward for KCC to publish monthly statements.

"This is not an idea that has just been plucked out of the air. It is already being done by the GLA and it is a reasonably straightforward to pull the details out of existing financial information.

"This is a way in which KCC could take steps to be more open and transparent.

"Every council has got much more to learn about ways in which they could be more open," he said.

"Whether the information would be widely read or not is not the issue but if people do want it, then it should be publicly available."

Conservative finance spokesman Cllr John Simmonds said he did not oppose the idea and recognised that the public now wanted more information about how their money was spent.

He added: "In principle, the more information that is available, the better. But it does need some thought.

"I do think it is possible but it is a question of seeing what might be a sensible solution.

"We do try and be as open as possible but we are an organisation spending £2billion a year and it could lead to a bureaucratic nightmare."

The proposal will be debated at a full council meeting at County Hall on Thursday.

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