‘Spin’ row erupts over Hertfordshire survey

THERE are lies, damn lies and statistics. And that’s certainly the case at Hertfordshire County Council, where political groups have clashed over the results of an annual survey.

The ruling Tory administration has revealed nearly three-quarters of residents – 73 per cent – are happy with the level of service provided by the council.

However, rival Lib Dem politicians have attacked the “spin” put on the results.

The survey – carried out by Opinion Research Services – also showed just over half of residents quizzed felt the council provided value for money.

Significant increases in satisfaction levels with household waste recycling centres, bus services, public transport information and the registration service were recorded.

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Leader Robert Gordon said: “These are very encouraging results, which demonstrate the majority of residents feel their money is being spent wisely to deliver high quality services.

“The views of our residents reinforce the recent judgement by the Audit Commission which concluded the council ‘has a track record of managing its spending within budget while maintaining and enhancing good service performance’.”

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But Lib Dem group leader Chris White criticised the Tories’ stance.

He said: “One in four people by the council’s own admission are not satisfied with the way the council performs.

“Improvements in satisfaction have been made mainly in relatively minor services or with essentially private sector services.

“Those politicians who actually meet the public know how furious they are with the county council over roads, school places and social care.”

Cllr White added: “At least they have the honesty to tell us that half the population don’t think the council provides value for money – and even then they appear to think it’s good news!

“As ever the council’s spin machine – funded at taxpayers’ expense – is there to flatter the image of the ruling group rather than provide genuine information.”

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