County Hall scraps Christmas card giving to save cash
County Hall's long-held tradition of sending out corporate Christmas cards has been scrapped to save cash.
Leicestershire County Council leader Nick Rushton has announced he will not be posting out any festive messages this year.
In years past, the county council has had hundreds of its own cards printed then sent out to other authorities and individuals.
However, Councillor Rushton, who became leader of the authority in September, said it was an "extravagance" and estimates canceling the cards will save between £1,500 and £2,000.
He said: "Last year, the leader sent out between 500 and 600 cards.
"I was deputy leader and I sent out between 300 and 400 myself.
"When you look at the cost of printing them and the fact a stamp now costs 50p it all mounts up.
"In a time when our budgets are under so much pressure you just can't justify that sort of expense.
"It won't save huge amounts of money but this is about mood music.
"I don't think anyone's Christmas will be ruined because they don't get cards from us."
Coun Rushton has decided to donate £60 – the equivalent cost of posting the cards – to the Loros hospice.
County Council chairman councillor Peter Lewis, the civic head of the authority, has also decided not to send any cards.
He said: "I shall be sending e-mails instead."
The Leicester Mercury attempted to contact Councillor David Parsons, who was county council leader last Christmas but he was unavailable for comment.
One county council member of staff, who did not wish to be named, said: "You can't fault the idea of not sending out cards.
"I would imagine a lot of the people who got them chucked them straight in the bin anyway.
"It's gesture politics, though. The amount of money saved is a drop in the ocean compared with other cuts which are happening.
"I doubt it will save anyone being made redundant." Finance bosses at County Hall estimate they will have had to make £82 million by 2016 to balance the books after cuts in Government grants.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby decided last year not to send out any cards and will not be doing so this year.
He said: "I shall be wishing people a happy Christmas in person.
"That sort of spending is excessive at any time."
Lord Mayor of Leicester councillor Abdul Osman will be sending out 500 specially made cards at the cost of £250 but will be footing the bill personally.
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