I WAS amazed to have found out this week that the Ramsbottom by-election on March 6 is set to cost council taxpayers the sum of £12,850. Ramsbottom residents will know that we already have planned council elections in just a few weeks on May 22 anyway.

The by-election was called quickly by members of the local Labour Party. I would have thought that they could have waited those few extra weeks and then asked residents to go to the polls to elect two councillors in the annual local elections in May.

I think a snap by-election, at a cost of thousands to our local taxpayers, especially in these difficult economic times for Bury Council, is outrageous.

I have asked the local Labour Party why it could not have postponed this by-election as there are already two other councillors in the ward.

Indeed, I said that I was more than happy to take on the extra casework between now and May to save the cost of a by-election.

It is no wonder that hard-working families in Ramsbottom feel that the Labour Party really are out of touch.

Coun Ian Bevan, Ramsbottom.