Nottingham is the local authority that thinks the public shouldn't know about how it spends their money. It is, of course, run by the Labour Party. And now - with the release of some spending information following a Freedom of Information request - the reasons start to creep out:
Nottingham City Council has hit back after housing minister Grant Shapps accused officials of misusing corporate credit cards to settle purchases of pizza, wine and a trip to Alton Towers theme park.
Details of the £3.5m spend in the year 2009-10 emerged from a freedom of information request submitted by communities secretary Eric Pickles following the council's refusal to publish details of all spending above £500.
Among purchases queried by the minister are £7,011 spent at a wine shop, £958 with Russian airline Aeroflot, £69 on Domino's pizza and £63on gift websites. A further £80 was spent on admission for Alton Towers and a card was used to settle a £50 bill at a local pub.
I'm sure a great deal of this is explainable but, given the Council's dislike for spending transparency, it doesn't look good, does it! However, the local Labour bigwigs continue to dig their hole deeper:
Defending the council, deputy leader Cllr Graham Chapman accused ministers of 'playing silly games' and of acting irresponsibly by failing to request the information formally as ministers of state.He said he was confident spending would be justified once full details were checked.
Cllr Chapman said: 'Most of the figures are below £100 and we are going to be checking on each of the individual items on Monday. But with the wine, for example, it is likely that it was brought for an event at the council house, - where we hold weddings and events for local businesses as a way of making money.'
I do hopw Cllr Chapman is right - I'd hate for some of that spending to be dodgy!