DUDLEY'S vibrant and diverse communities will be celebrated with a unity day next month but UKIP councillors have slammed the event, branding it "a huge waste of taxpayers' money".

The Dudley commUNITY event planned for September 19 will follow on from the popular and award-winning Funday Sunday, held earlier this year to boost trade and present a united front following an EDL protest in the town.

However Sedgley councillor Bill Etheridge and leader of Dudley Council's UKIP group Councillor Paul Brothwood, have called for the event - which will feature a variety of music, dance, entertainment, stalls and a procession - to be scrapped.

They say more than £6,000 is being spent on the day, which is being supported by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and coordinated by Dudley Council, Dudley Borough Inter-faith network and the organisers of the Black Country Festival.

Cllr Etheridge, who is also a West Midlands MEP, said he believes the money should instead be spent on frontline policing and added: “Dudley is a united community and we do not need to blow thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to demonstrate that.

“I believe the money should instead go to frontline policing and council services - where it is most needed.”

Cllr Brothwood agreed: “Dudley is a very tight knit community and despite the marches from outsiders we do not need an expensive unity day to show how close a community Dudley is."

Despite the backlash, the council is encouraging people from across the borough to get involved on the day to join a number of Dudley schools, businesses, and community and faith groups that have come on board.

Councillor Judy Foster, deputy leader of Dudley Council, said: “Dudley people are renowned for their Black Country warmth, humour and welcoming nature.

“Our Sunday Funday event was a huge success and we believe the Dudley commUNITY event will not only be a fantastic day of celebration but will also bring more people into town to benefit our hardworking traders.

“We hope that all sectors of the community want to get involved, it would be lovely to see cheerleading performances, community knit-ins, food sampling, henna painting, clog-dancing or whatever exciting and interesting contribution our vibrant and diverse communities want to offer.”

To take part in the event, which will run from 10am to 4pm in Dudley town centre, contact jacki.wynn@dudley.gov.uk or call 01384 817822.