BASILDON Council has shelled out more than £4,000 to buy chains of office for its deputy mayor.

Tory Danny Lawrence had previously worn a ribbon, with the mayoral badge of office attached, when attending official functions.

But the neckwear has been upgraded after council leader Phil Turner and chief executive Bala Mahendran approved spending £4,358 on new chains.

After Basildon Council was granted borough status in 2010, a local business footed the £8,820 bill for the chains worn by its first mayor, Mo Larkin.

The cost of the new chains has come out of council coffers, as part of the mayoral budget for the year.

Phil Rackley, Green councillor for St Martin’s ward, said: “I don’t believe expenditure on full chains of office is justified in the current climate, where residents and the council are facing more austerity cuts,

“While the figure is small in comparison with the total budget, I feel the council is displaying the wrong approach as far as value for money is concerned.“ A council spokesman said: “The decision to purchase new chains of office for the deputy mayor was made by the leader of the council and the chief executive.

“The previous chains were marked with vice-chairman and following the change from a district to a borough council in 2010, the mayor and deputy mayor felt it appropriate that the chains worn by the deputy mayor at various events should reflect the correct title. The opportunity was also taken to bring uniformity to the chains worn by the civic head of the council and their deputy.”

In April 2012, then deputy mayor Chris Jackman ended up in hot water with council bosses when he lost the previous “vice chairman” chains and was told he may have to pay as much as £5,000 to replace them.

The chains were discovered five months later in a car.

Mr Rackley added: “If it really is necessary to change the name on the badge then fair enough, but a chain when there were none before is questionable.

“Surely a modest ribbon and badge would suffice, but unfortunately Basildon seems to be keen to join the chain gang.”