MONEY spent on the team responsible for communications and media relations at Warrington Borough Council has been cut by almost £47,000 since 2016.

Pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance has collated data linked to press officers following Freedom of Information requests to 410 councils, including Warrington.

It asked the Labour-run authority how much it spends on press officers, including any members of staff whose main duty is press relations, public relations, communications and social media.

The council has confirmed the salary budgets for its communications team – which includes salary costs for a graphic and publications designer, as well as a business support officer – totalled £310,528 in 2016, £307,840 in 2017, £283,559 in 2018 and £263,730 in 2019.

It says nobody currently holds the role of ‘press officer’ and that there has not been a specific press officer employed since 2017.

A spokesman added: “The communications team consists of officers who cover media relations, publications, communications, campaigns, websites, social media, internal communications and staff engagement, and interpretation and translation.

“The same team who deal with media relations and press is the same team who has recently delivered the new council website, for example.

“Communications officers at the council cover various disciplines and over the last four years the team has got smaller in size, from 11 officers in 2016, to six at present, plus a regional fostering marketing post, paid for across the four Cheshire local authorities.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance believes it is necessary for a council to communicate news about services to residents but adds many ‘might consider just how many press officers are necessary to carry out that function’.