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Opposition criticizes spending on travel, advertising and consulting

The Saxon cabinet / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa
The Saxon cabinet / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa

Good advice is expensive: the Saxon cabinet also spends a lot of money every year on expert advice to appear in the right light. This regularly annoys the opposition.

The opposition factions of the Left and AfD in the Saxon state parliament have criticized the cabinet's spending habits on consulting, business trips and advertising on its own behalf. "The bottom line is that the state government spends large sums on advertising and PR, travel and external consulting. The ministries are also obliged to use taxpayers' money sparingly and transparently," commented Left Party parliamentary group leader Rico Gebhardt on the answers to a series of questions on the subject. It is important for the opposition to keep asking about and monitoring these costs.

"In the case of some expenditure, I have my doubts as to whether it was actually necessary in this amount," Gebhardt emphasized. For example, Minister of Culture Christian Piwarz (CDU) spent almost 8600 euros on a single photo shoot and Minister of Justice Katja Meier (Greens) invested a good 15,000 euros in an undisclosed "narrative process".

"It's fine for the Minister President to honor volunteer helpers and for the State Chancellery to provide flowers for the occasion. However, we don't think it's okay for the State Chancellery to spend a million euros on organizing a free music event so that the Minister President can perform in front of thousands of young Saxons," criticised André Barth, financial policy spokesperson for the AfD parliamentary group. He was alluding to the Europe Festival in front of the Dresden Frauenkirche on July 4 last year. At that time, French President Emmanuel Macron was due to come to Dresden, but then canceled his participation due to the protests in his country. Several pop artists also performed at the event.

He had long had the impression that Kretschmer was exploiting his position as Prime Minister "to promote parties and individuals at the expense of the taxpayer and political competitors", Barth suspected. He was also critical of the head of government's travel activities.

The State Chancellery's response to Gebhardt's inquiry about contracts for advertising agencies shows that around 7.8 million euros were spent on this last year. The largest item was used by the Ministry of Culture with around 1.7 million euros. The smallest sum was estimated by the Ministry of Finance at a good 16,300 euros.

External consulting services accounted for a good 9.4 million euros, with the largest item of around two million euros being used by the Ministry of Social Affairs. An additional 845,000 euros were spent on PR consulting services.

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