Row over council jubilee mug spend

Ottery St Mary Town Council logo

Ottery St Mary Town Council logo

Archant

A row broke out over Ottery Town Council’s spending priorities after a proposal to spend £3,000 on Diamond Jubilee mugs was defeated.

It was called an ‘outrageous way to spend public money’, but councillors did vote to set aside almost £1,500 for commemorative gifts for all children under the age of 11.

The town council has already set aside £4,000 for the town’s Jubilee celebrations in June, but the Mayor, Glyn Dobson, who is on the organising committee, wanted backing to assign more money.

They want to give mugs to each child under the age of 11 in Ottery, and showed an example model, priced at £1.99 each.

But there was a backlash from several councillors on the quality of the mugs, with George Hansford saying they looked ‘cheap’.

He pointed to the previous mugs on display in a cabinet in the council chamber, saying they should provide something of a higher quality.

Cllr Dobson said they had looked into getting china versions but they would cost around £4.50 each, meaning the council would have to spend around £3,000 to provide one to every child.

Claire Wright said of that idea: “It is an outrageous way to spend public money.

“You will get an awful lot of grief for spending that much money on commemorative mugs.”

But the Mayor replied: “I would think we will get grief if we don’t supply mugs.”

Councillor Roger Giles said he didn’t support the idea of giving mugs either, calling it ‘unimaginative’, and questioning whether young people today would want one.

But Councillor Paul carter disagreed, saying: “I am young enough to remember getting the last mugs, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

“It is something I have never forgotten.”

Councillor Paul Lewis added: “I can’t think when the next Diamond Jubilee will be?

“It could be hundreds of years, and with the surplus we have I see no problem spending £1,500 on mugs to commemorate the occasion.”

The council then voted in favour of supplying mugs to children, but agreed to buy the cheaper versions.

The details of how they will be distributed are yet to be finalised.


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