Unity event to deter Dudley far right protests is 'waste of money'
Councillor Paul Brothwood, leader of the UKIP Group at Dudley Council, has slammed plans for the event earmarked for September 19.
It is being staged after three separate groups descended on the town this year to protest against the proposed building of a new mosque.
Councillor Brothwood sought out details of the event and found the cost for the latest event is currently being estimated at £6,245.
He said: “Dudley is a very tight knit community and despite the marches from outsiders we do not need an expensive unity day to show how close a community Dudley is.
"The extreme left wing groups and the right wing groups who have come to the town have been outsiders. They won't be there for this unity event, they have been coming from all over the country for the protests.
"It will be the people of Dudley at this event and not those who have been protesting. I really do not think the unity day will stop one person from protesting in the future."
At a community meeting last week held following the protest by All Football Fans/Firms March Against Islamisation (AFFFMAI), Councillor Judy Foster, Deputy Leader, said meetings were currently being held to organise the show of unity.
But plans have also emerged for the football protestors to return to the town, under a different name.
Councillor Foster said at the meeting: "The message is 'we are a united community and we will not be divided by hateful individuals' and to send a strong message they should stay away.
"The message is enough is enough. We will not have it anymore. We are diverse but have values in common working together."
In the draft budget obtained by Councillor Brothwood, £1,000 is earmarked for street entertainers.
A further £500 is earmarked for marketing and £800 is to be spent on a stage.
Along with Councillor Brothwood, West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge has called for the plans to be scrapped.
He said: “Close front desks at police stations then commit police and council resources to a PR stunt by Labour – where is the common sense here?
“Dudley is a united community and we do not need to blow thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to demonstrate that.
“I believe the money should instead go to frontline policing and Council services where it is most needed.”