Scoreboard cash is ‘wrong’

Coun Alan Rhodes.
Coun Alan Rhodes.
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A NOTTS County Councillor has blasted the authority for spending £900,000 on a new cricket score board - at a time when frontline services are facing major cuts.

Notts County Council has pledged the money towards a £1.8m scoreboard for Notts County Cricket Club in a bid to improve the ‘economic health’ of the county.

But Coun Alan Rhodes, leader of the Labour opposition, says the decision is ludicrous when key services are being cut.

“It is quite clear that the notion of us ‘all being in it together’ has never been so offensive,” he said.

“Care for the elderly is suffering as the Conservatives at Notts County Council have cut £65m from the budget - the elderly have been made to pay more for their service with an 86 per cent increase in the charge for transport to day centre services alone.”

Coun Rhodes said he recognised the Cricket Club brings tourism to the county but claimed paying out £900,000 for the scoreboard was ‘unacceptable’.

“We are proud of Nottinghamshire and support a future sporting legacy for the county but we also think that people and frontline services should be a priority and would be a priority under a Labour administration,” he said.

“Giving away £900,000 of taxpayers’ money for a scoreboard when key services are being cut is wrong.”

Notts County Council has previously provided loans to help support the development of the cricket club and last year backed a bid to the England Cricket Board to host a package of eight international cricket matches at Trent Bridge for 2013-2016.

The successful bid is subject to the club building a new £1.8m electronic scoreboard and replay screen in time for the 2013 Ashes Test.

Council leader Coun Kay Cutts said: “Some visitors who come to watch Ashes Tests at Trent Bridge will stay in accommodation within the county, others will enjoy evenings in restaurants and other leisure outlets - so it will generate jobs for local people. Over a three year period, it is a £300,000 investment for a £10m gain each year from 2013-2016,” she said.

“The funding towards the new scoreboard is also capital spend as opposed to revenue spend for service delivery. Capital spends are an investment in something new, so the initial outlay of funding is a one off payment - with the investment opportunities very clear. We will also secure two Ashes tests in this time period - the only venue outside of London to have this accolade.”

Chairman of the culture committee Coun John Cottee added: “Securing the status of Trent Bridge as a premier international and world famous cricket ground will help to maintain and enhance the national and international reputation of Nottinghamshire, and enable Nottinghamshire to build upon its considerable sporting legacy in the light of London 2012.”