Busts branded waste of money

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Thirteen bronze busts of the Queen commissioned to mark the Diamond Jubilee have been blasted as a ‘ludicrous waste of money’.

The sculptures, commissioned at a cost of more than £60,000 by Lancashire County Council, have been unveiled in County Hall.

One bust will sit in County Hall while 12 identical ones will be sent to each of Lancashire’s districts., including Lancaster. They are due for delivery in the next few weeks.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This is a ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ cash at a time when spending cuts are being made.

“Councils lose all sympathy when they plead poverty and blame central government for smaller budgets, but continue to spend money on items that would have been unnecessary even in the good times.”

£3,000 was spent on the process to find a suitable artist, and £58,000 on the busts themselves.

They were created by Lancashire sculptor Peter Hodgkinson, whose previous works include the Splash statue of Sir Tom Finney at Preston North End.

Mr Sinclair added: “If a private funder wants to commission these pieces then so be it, but the local authority shouldn’t use the annual council tax bill of dozens of hard-pressed families to dot sculptures around town. Politicians have to start ruthlessly prioritising services over pointless vanity projects.”

Leader of Lancashire County Council, Coun Geoff Driver, said: “Lancashire has traditionally had strong links with the Queen, in her role as Duke of Lancaster, and we felt it was very important to mark her 60 years of service with something tangible and long-lasting.

“In the same way that we still cherish the bust of Queen Victoria that Lancastrians from a bygone age had the foresight to create for us, we hope that future generations will enjoy this beautiful and meaningful work of art for generations to come.”

The sculpture was unveiled by Lord Shuttleworth KCVO, Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, alongside the newly-restored bust of Queen Victoria. Lancashire County Council agreed to create the busts in February.