TAXPAYERS keen to keep tabs on how Worcestershire's local authorities are spending their cash could be interested in a new campaign group.

The county is getting its first TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) branch following a successful activists' meeting at Fownes Hotel, in Worcester city centre.

The alliance, which has a West Midlands branch and is based in London, was set up by volunteers to push for greater scrutiny of local authorities and the Government.

The TPA now boasts more than 18,000 volunteers nationally and a handful of paid staff who help run the organisation.

Fiona McEvoy, West Midlands' branch campaign agent, organised the first Worcestershire group get together and believes the county could prove "a hotbed" of issues.

She said: "A lot of things came up at that meeting.

"It sounds like Worcestershire is a bit of a hotbed, the conversation really flowed."

A dozen like-minded people turned up to discuss how Worcestershire taxpayers' cash is spent by authorities ranging from Worcestershire County Council and West Mercia Constabulary.

The group discussed issues including planning policy, council employees' rates of pay and councillors' expenses.

Miss McEvoy said concerns over government quangos spending taxpayers' cash in rural counties and council tax spending generally were also big issues for people, particularly with the continued rise in cost of living.

Doug Langdon, a self-employed personnel consultant, of Eckington which is covered by Wychavon District Council, attended.

The 60-year-old said: "People need to take an interest in what is going on and need to feel they can have a say.

"I get pamphlets from Wychavon District Council particularly when council tax forms come out and they are self-praising.

"I am not saying Wychavon is not one of the best run local authorities in the country, that may well be the case, but people should keep an eye on it so we are not lulled into a false sense of security."

Miss McEvoy believes the branch could expand over the coming years as people's interest in how much tax they are paying and where the money is spent grows.

For more information about the branch e-mail county activist John Hughes or call Miss McEvoy on 0845 3309554.