Taxpayers will not be funding council's fitness


Staff reporter (Border Counties)

TAXPAYERS should not fund gym memberships for councillors, members have said.
Oswestry town councillors last week voted against a motion of taking corporate membership at a local gym in a bid to encourage a healthy lifestyle in both members and council staff.
It was put forward by Councillor Martin Bennett, who signed up to a gym after suffering a heart attack three years ago.
He said: “I benefit from the gym not only from the exercise but also from the regular assessments I get; my heart rate and blood pressure is checked more often than it is at the doctors
“I think this is something as a town council we should encourage and I think we should consider the possibility of corporate gym membership for us and our staff and as an example to the people of Oswestry.
“We should think know and not wait for an ambulance to rush you to hospital - it would take the pressure off the NHS.”
His views were backed by Councillor Peter Cherring-ton, who suffered 10 heart attacks in 2003.
However, Councillor Cynthia Hawksley said the authority needed to consider how much the scheme would cost.
She said: “We need to consider the financial implications.
“This is not something I would like to see from this council.”
Councillor Duncan Kerr added: “We are in danger if we don’t recognise and spend our budgets right, and the idea that taxpayers should pay for us to go to the gym is out of order – it is a misuse of public funds.”
Cllr Bennett agreed that he was totally against the idea of ‘misusing’ public money; however despite his suggestion that the motion was to look into how the idea could be developed members voted against it.
l A SECOND motion put forward by Councillor Martin Bennett was agreed by councillors.
Cllr Bennett had requested the council consults with trustees of two local charities, the Grace Rees Charity and the Charity of Richard Wycherley for Advancement of Life, with the aim of promoting a review of their low levels of income and activity.

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