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Boris Johnson and coucil leaders escape to France as frontline services cut

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By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:30 PM on 10th March 2011

  • Mayor of London leads party to Cannes conference costing £1,300 per person

  • Manchester spends £60,000 to send 13 officials... as it cuts £26million to libraries and swimming pools
  • Newham sends 13 as it cuts £100m from budget
Trip to Cannes: Mayor of London Boris Johnson took a delegation to the Mipim event in the south of France

Trip to Cannes: Mayor of London Boris Johnson took a delegation to the Mipim event in the south of France

Boris Johnson and more than 100 councillors from around Britain are jetting off to the south of France to attend a networking conference.

News of the taxpayer-funded jaunt comes at a time when public services are being cut around the country.

Manchester Council is paying about £60,000 to send at least 13 officials to the Mipim event in Cannes, which is billed as one of the property industry’s biggest trade shows.

Around 70 people from local councils and municipal bodies will attend the conference, plus about 40 from urban regeneration agencies.

But with local authorities implementing millions of pounds worth of cuts, news of the trip will anger many.

It has emerged Manchester Council has laid on a free private bar for delegates and set up several themed areas, just week after it announced that libraries and swimming pools would be closed and rubbish collections cut in a money-saving effort.

The Mayor of London, meanwhile, led a party of three delegates from the Greater London Authority.

Also, three members of Newham council, a deprived borough in the capital that is cutting £100million from its budget over three years, jetted off to the Riviera.

Resort: Councillors are attending the conference in stylish Cannes

Resort: Councillors are attending the conference in stylish Cannes

The Mipim conference in Cannes, from March 8 to 11, is promoted as the ‘leading marketplace for investors to explore the most profitable global opportunities’.

Registration for exhibitors costs more than £1,300 a person and return flights to the area this week can cost around £1,000.

Councillors defended their attendance of the event on the grounds that it would lead to ‘regeneration opportunities’.

‘Mipim provides us with an opportunity to showcase our city ... to potential investors and its value is recognised by Birmingham’s business community,’ said Business Birmingham’s commercial director Ian Taylor.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: ‘The mayor spent one day at the conference, travelling economy class, and his packed itinerary saw him delivering two keynote speeches attended by key international developers and investors and attending meetings.

Riviera jaunt: Manchester's exhibit at the Mipim conference

Riviera jaunt: Manchester's exhibit at the Mipim conference

'As usual the mayor travelled with a very small team and all their overnight accommodation was provided free.’

News of the councillors’ trip to the French Riviera comes a week after Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles criticised town hall bosses who refuse to take a pay cut while implementing savage cuts to front-line services.

Speaking to the Daily Mail last week, Mr Pickles said: ‘I can’t believe a chief executive can look their workforce in the face and say they are having to take all these difficult decisions, but they themselves are isolated from it.

‘How can they look themselves in the mirror in the morning? It’s no use them bemoaning the reductions that are having to take place in local government if they are not showing any leadership.’

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The BUFFOON having a PARTY, on those MUGS, the hard working, hard pressed, decent, honest, worthwhile TAXPAYERS, that is one FUND, that all Politicians consider a bottomless pit of FUNDS.

- Mr Very Very Angry, Another Universe, where it all makes SENSE., 10/3/2011 17:12

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DISGUSTING!!!

- LF, London, 10/3/2011 17:09

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I wonder how many of them would have signed up if the conference had been in somewhere like Wigan, Woverhampton or Middlesbrough? Nothing wrong with any of them of course... just not the Riviera.

- deke, yorks, 10/3/2011 17:05

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Boris had to attend. People have never heard of London.

- stephen, rotherham,u.k, 10/3/2011 17:00

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I would want to know what is the Cost-Benefit Analysis. If this results in companies setting up shop in the UK then it would seem to be money well spent. You have to spend money to get money.

- John Wood, Hull UK, 10/3/2011 16:59

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YOU CANNOT PUT COMMON SENSE WHERE COMMON SENSE DOES NOT BELONG.

- Rev. I. Benn (retired), Dover., 10/3/2011 16:38

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