Councils pay pounds 1m to update their image

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The Independent Online
COUNCILS across Britain are poised to spend up to pounds 1m on painting out their past. More than 50 new councils are being created on 1 April and many have produced fresh images, ranging from changed logos and vehicle liveries to new notepaper and school signs.

In Scotland, all councils have to make changes to their coats of arms as well. One authority, Falkirk, estimates it will cost pounds 45,000 to implement just essential changes.

For most of the council areas involved, it will be the third logo and livery in two decades.

Councils may be hard-up and cutting back in social services and other areas, but widespread changes in logos and images have a high priority in the reorganisation at the end of next month. Advertising and design studios have been used by some councils to produce new logos. Monmouthshire in Wales estimates its new logo has cost around pounds 15,000.

At the end of next month, big local government changes will see 22 new unitary authorities in Wales and 29 in Scotland, which will replace the two-tier system of districts and counties or regions. In England, three councils - Avon, Humberside and Cleveland - are being split into 12 unitary authorities.

A Glasgow Council spokesman said: "The Lord Lyon King of Arms has decreed that in the four cities - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen - the five thistles in the crown at the top will disappear and be replaced by battlements. It is a tiny change which you can hardly notice, but it has big consequences because it will need to be implemented."

In non-cities like Falkirk, the thistles will be replaced by a wheatsheaf. "We estimate that the cost of implementing all the changes will be around pounds 45,000 and that is after we have brought it down to the essentials," said a spokesman for the council.

Elizabeth Roads, Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records in Edinburgh, said: "The coronets in the coats of arms have had to be changed to specify the new authorities. Thistles are not on the new coats of arms because they were for the district councils, which are disappearing."