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Hampshire County Council paid £223,000 to broadcast meetings live
VIEWING figures have plunged for “Ken TV” after Hampshire County Council forked out £223,000 to broadcast meetings live.
More than 800 people tuned in to watch the first televised budget setting meeting last February when the ruling Tories approved a £45m package of cuts.
But just 108 people watched May’s meeting while this month’s meeting attracted only 57 viewers.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the ruling Cabinet last April was watched by 167 people either live on the council website, or as recorded footage.
Conservative council leader Ken Thornber revealed the figures at a council meeting, adding: “Maybe Cabinet is more popular than the council.”
As reported, the council spent £223,000 on audio, video and web-streaming equipment and fees for a company to operate it for the first year.
County chiefs hoped to open up council meetings to a wider audience. But Councillor Keith House, Liberal Democrat opposition spokesman, said it was a waste of money. He said: “It’s always been a Conservative vanity project.”
Chrisine Melsom, co-ordinator of anti-council tax group IsItFair, said: “I am not at all surprised because council meetings are terribly boring – and I am interested in local politics.”
However, Councillor Colin Davidovitz, communications chief, said he was not disappointed with the figures.
He said people could tune in if they had a particular interest in a subject being debated and it showed how their elected representatives made decisions.
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