Dudley Council spent £5,000 on one-night trip to London awards event

Dudley Council spent over £5,000 on one night in Central London having attended an awards ceremony and stayed at a Hilton hotel.

Double Tree Hilton Hotel close to Victoria Station. Photo: Google
Double Tree Hilton Hotel close to Victoria Station. Photo: Google

Taxpayers picked up the bill for the trip which included train transport, a table for ten at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards, and a night in the Doubletree Hilton Hotel outside London Victoria Station.

The information was uncovered as part of a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The trip took place as the council’s street cleaners had been nominated in the “Large Team of the Year” category for their efforts in cleaning up Dudley’s streets, but, they were pipped to the post by Coventry City Council.

The event held on July 20, 2022, at Grosvenor House, London was attended by one elected member of Dudley Council along with four local volunteer and front-line service workers.

Dudley Council was one of four West Midlands local authorities present alongside Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

After being pipped to the awards post by Coventry Council, the five-person team racked up a bill of £5,390 for a one night stay.

The first item on the bill was a table for ten at the LGCs with a total cost of £3,400.

This was followed by a night spent in the Doubletree Hilton Hotel outside London Victoria Station costing £1,740 for five guests – a hotel Dudley Council said was the “recommended hotel by event organisers for location and cost”.

The grand total also included £250 train tickets for four passengers with one travelling by car.

Councillor Qadar Zada, Leader of Dudley’s Labour Group said the Council “should be ashamed of themselves”.

Councillor Zada said: “This just shows how completely out of touch the Conservatives are. In Dudley people are worried about the cost of living and any reasonable and responsible authority would be looking at ways they can help their residents. Conservatives in Dudley are looking at every opportunity they can help themselves to the hard-earned money of Dudley residents.

“To spend almost £6k a night is showing pure contempt for local people, they should be ashamed of themselves. This is Boris Johnson antics in Dudley.”

Dudley Council argued that despite the costs, events like these allow the council to raise its profile.

Balvinder Heran, deputy chief executive at Dudley Council, said: “These events provide our local authority with a good opportunity to share best practices, learn from others in the sector and fly the flag to raise the profile of Dudley nationally.

“Our award submission centred on partnership and community work during the pandemic with staff and volunteers going above and beyond.

“Attendees included four local volunteers, staff from our street cleansing and other teams, who never faltered in keeping streets, towns, and recreation areas clean despite times of unprecedented challenge and demand.

“Dudley Council was one of a number of West Midlands local authorities present at the event, alongside Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.”

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