The man in charge of Reading council has hit back at criticism over the cost of the town’s failed city status bid.

Councillor Jason Brock the leader of Reading Borough Council has responded to criticism of the attempt to become a city.

The status bid was blasted by Reading blogger Inedible Reading, who raised concerns about how much the failure had cost the council.

Inedibe Reading tweeted to the council: “Please disclose how much was spent and please confirm that this is the last time you’ll try.”

READ MORE: MPs react to Reading's failed city status bid

The blogger called the town’s repeated failure to become a city, with the Platinum Jubilee being its fourth attempt, “a pretty telling score.”

But cllr Brock (Labour, Southcote) has hit back at the criticism in a statement to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Although he didn’t disclose the cost of the bid, he explained that the amount spent was mininal.

Cllr Brock  said: “Official guidance from Government throughout was to keep costs to a minimum and the council did exactly that.

“The bid only required completion of a straightforward and short application form as set out by the Government and no staff have been employed to compile the bid.

“Instead it was worked on by a very small team of council officers, for a limited time, and for whom the work only formed a small part of their substantive roles. They were supported by the team at Reading UK CIC.”

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Cllr Brock argued that the cost of applying for city status was ‘minimal’, set against the council’s £9 million road repair programme, the £40m it is investing in modern swimming pools and leisure centres, the enhancements to the railways or the £7m investment in pushing Reading to carbon neutrality by 2030.

He continued: “Set that cost against the work we do every day to ensure that social care services are delivered across Reading, or against the fact that this council has kept all of its libraries open when others have closed theirs, or against Reading’s most ambitious council house building programme in a generation.

“Pull all of that together, and much more, and set it against someone filling out an application form for city status – I think that’s a reasonable commitment of effort for the chance to celebrate Reading’s successes.”

The backlash comes after it was announced today (Friday, May 20) that Reading had not been successful in its bid as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark the 7th year of her reign.

The English towns that were successful were Milton Keynes, Colchester and Doncaster, along with Wrexham, Wales, Dumferline, Scotland, Bangor in Northern Island, Douglas on the Isle of Man and Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

Cllr Brock added the response to Reading’s bid had been “overwhelmingly positive” compared to the previous attempts in 2000, 2002 and 2012.

He continued: “Naturally, the business community and even our Berkshire neighbours understood the value that a successful bid offers for the local economy and major partners, like the University of Reading, are all keen to see the reputation of the town further enhanced.

“In terms of bidding again in the future, that is a question for if and when another round of City Status bids are invited, not now.

“Whatever decision is made, it will be made in consultation with communities and partners in Reading, just as the decision to bid this time was.”