‘UP IN SMOKE’: Northampton Lib Dem leader hits back at Conservatives who spent £13,000 on fireworks

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The Leader of the Liberal Democrat group has criticised Conservative councillors for pooling £13,150 of their community fund on fireworks.

The cabinet papers published last week show all but two of the elected Lib Dems had not spent their empowerment fund.

But leader of the group Sally Beardsworth said Conservative councillors could hardly afford to take the moral high ground, when 24 members donated more than £500 to the council organised Midsummer Meadows fireworks display in November.

She said: “I have reminded all my councillors and I have been told it will all be allocated.

“The money makes a huge difference to people’s lives and helps organisations get off the ground.”

But she added: “Some of the Conservative councillors used some of their money for the fireworks display and I do not think that was a good use of the funds.”

Labour group leader Les Marriott (Lab, Semilong) took a similar line.

He said: “Their councillors spent a lot of their fund on this fireworks display.

“Is that the right way for the money to be spent?”

However Councillor Mackintosh said councillors Beardsworth and Marriott were being ‘killjoys’.

He said: “The Conservative group made a commitment to bring back the fireworks display to the town.

“It was watched by around 8,000 people who came into the town especially for it.

“It brought in thousands of visitors that all helped bring money into the local economy.

“It’s a shame the Lib Dems are such killjoys, having scrapped the fireworks display when they were in power.”

Councillor Mackintosh also refuted the suggestion he brought the deadline date forward for councillors to spend their community fund in order to score political points.

He said: “They are hiding behind smoke and mirrors and hiding behind excuses.

“When you look at Councillor Gowen, she had more than £6,000 to spend.

“The idea that she was waiting until the end of February to spend that is ludicrous.”

He added he was not aware councillors had been sent an email telling them they had until the end of February at Christmas time.