Manchester

Critics attack Manchester council's £150,000 statues

One of the £150,000 statues
Image caption Liberal Democrats are opposed to the statues

A £150,000 public artwork erected in Manchester city centre has been branded a waste of money.

The five publicly-funded acrobat stick figures line the path to the First Street development, off Whitworth Street, at the foot of Deansgate.

Liberal Democrat councillors say the money - a mixture of European and council cash - would be better spent on public services.

The council said improving the area would help create jobs.

About 1,500 staff and many council services have transferred to a new building - called One First Street - during the refurbishment of Manchester Town Hall, expected to take three years.

Manchester Liberal Democrats have argued the money could be better spent on public services.

Job growth

Councillor Paul Shannon, deputy leader, said: "You have to question the council's priorities.

"Most people can think of better things to spend £150,000 of public money on."

Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of the Labour-run council, defended the use of the money for the statues.

He said: "This is part of a much wider scheme to improve the environment around First Street, a major development which will create thousands of jobs and millions of pounds worth of investment in Manchester City Centre.

"The overall scheme is being paid for through both European and council funding and is one of a number of schemes where not only is the council investing to promote job growth but we also expect to recoup the investment from a successful development."

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