Schools and libraries to become advertising sites to pay for Northants County Council's marketing department

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The cash-strapped county council will be turning its buildings and roundabouts into advertising sites to pay for its marketing and public relations staff.

Schools, libraries, county parks and office buildings will all be used to generate income for Northamptonshire County Council.

The local authority, which is in dire financial straits, has 200 buildings and 150 roundabouts, which will be used to raise much-needed cash.

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The marketing department costs £396,000 to run and employs nine full time staff.

The authority estimates the scheme could raise up to £2.6m but a large chunk of this would go to a contracted advertising agency who will manage it.

Councillors at yesterday’s cabinet meeting (Tuesday, April 10) welcomed the initiative to bring in the extra funds but some questioned where the proceeds would be funnelled.

Cllr Bob Scott, who represents the Lloyds ward in Corby, said he backed the initiative but had some reservations about using the income to pay for communications.

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He said: “We have far more areas where this money could be used effectively, not in a propaganda department.”  

The council hopes to earn almost £200,000 in 2018/19 from the scheme so that the cost to the authority for its marketing team is £188,000. It wants to reduce this again the next financial year and for the department to be entirely paid for by advertising revenue in 2020/21.

The authority says any surplus will go towards other, as yet unspecified, departments.

The plan to use funds made from billboards at libraries has been called into question by library campaigners.

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As part of cost savings NCC is planning to close up to 21 libraries across the county, a move which could face a Government inquiry.

Spokesman for the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals Mark Taylor said: “Any advertising and promotions should be sympathetic to the role and purpose of libraries and in Northamptonshire should provide much-needed support for library services across the county.”