A cash-strapped local council has failed to sell a rare license plate in a desperate attempt to make up a huge cash deficit.
East Renfrewshire Council had hoped that the ‘HS 0’ vehicle registration number would attract widespread interest, including from famous faces like Harry Styles.
The number plate, which was given to Eastwood’s old Borough Council decades ago, was expected to fetch around £150,000 at auction.
Local government is desperate to fill the £30m gap in its three-year budget.
But neither the former One Direction star, 29, nor anyone else has caught it.
A request for information revealed that the sign has not even been put up for sale after the budget was set in March and tax assessments were submitted to the municipality in April.
The response also revealed that the plan cost public money because officials hired a photographer to take publicity photos.
The Council even failed to select an auction house.
East Renfrewshire Council previously said: “Given the Council’s difficult financial situation, all avenues of revenue generation must be considered.”
“The sale of the HS 0 council registration offers the opportunity to generate a considerable sum.
“In the current circumstances, it would be unwise not to consider selling something that serves no real purpose and which many would arguably see as an unnecessary extravagance.”
East Renfrewshire residents were hit by a 6 per cent tax hike last month, one of the highest in Scotland.
The failed sale was branded a “publicity stunt” by locals and the city officials called it “unfortunate”.
East Renfrewshire Independent Councilor David Macdonald said: “I can’t help but feel that maybe that wasn’t motivated.”
by raising additional funds for the Council, but above all for general public relations work.
“That doesn’t really surprise me given the current lead at the top of East Renfrewshire.
“It’s a leadership style that’s focused entirely on PR and visuals, not on the substantive implementation of meaning.”
Local marketing consultant David Boyes, 63, fumed: “We always suspected this was a publicity stunt by this hapless local council – and now we know it was.”
“They did their best and claimed they would stop at nothing to make extra money, including selling that license plate.
“But the fact that they haven’t even put it up for sale shows that was just for the headlines.”
HS was the prefix indicating the car was registered in Renfrewshire.
The valuable license plate has not been used since the municipal car lease ended in 2022.
East Renfrewshire Council has been contacted for comment.
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