Campaign wants sheep to cut town hall costs

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Grazing cattle and sheep should be used by councils as a cheap way to cut grass on their land, according to a new report.

The idea is one of 201 ways for councils to save money put forward by the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign group which include limiting the length of reports to save council officer time, sending children in care to boarding schools and paying pubs to allow people to use their toilets rather than providing public conveniences.

The report also has more conventional suggestions such as merging senior roles, combining district and county councils and sharing services.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: “There is significant scope for town halls to save taxpayers’ money, helping keep council tax down and protect frontline services.

“Councils which complain about so-called cuts need to read through this report and justify their spending to local taxpayers.”

But the report was lampooned by council leaders.

A Local Government Association spokesman said: “The TPA seems to have lost its bearings. This is a list of things councils have been doing for years peppered with a number of frankly ridiculous ideas, some of which are downright dangerous.

“Councils are getting on with the serious business of saving money through sensible, well thought-through reforms which will keep council tax low and go some way to protecting local services from the 43 per cent cut in funding from central government.”