Benidorm blasted for extravagant spending

BENIDORM Council reportedly allocated €841,000 in their 2011 municipal budget to pay external consultants contracts for services rendered, covering items as diverse as “verbal counseling” or “advice on protocol”, to “yoga.”

This was criticized by the municipal group of the opposition Popular Party (PP), which said that in the era of economic crisis and cuts in local Socialist Party government PSOE, “has squandered” such funds.

Among the items for external advice that was paid, according to González de Zárate of the PP, was more than €4,000 for “verbal advice”, more than €26,000 in legal services, €2,300 in the bullfighting school, and more than €4,000 in expenses for up to four yoga classes in one month, all according to data provided by the PP councillor.

Due to increased outsourcing of contracts during the period Gonzalez de Zarate said that, far from reducing costs, local government continued to increase dependency on external consultants, saying that whilst in January 2011 Benidorm spent €19,787 on this, in January this year they spent €36,952, or almost double.

In rebuttal, Benidorm’s Finance Councillor, Natalia Guijarro said the figures provided by González de Zárate did not present a true picture, explaining that of the more than €841,000 paid last year for outsourcing, only a portion goes to pay independent contracts and “cannot be considered external consultants.”

She said that departments of Youth, Social Welfare, Culture and occasionally Sports were responsible for the items cited by the PP, and that they had been normal and accepted disbursements over .he term of several years, not just under the PSOE.

Photo credit: Jaume Meneses

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