SIR — Recent attacks on Conservative-led Hampshire County Council by Lib Dems are so unfair that it seems they are politically motivated.

A few months ago, HCC was criticised by the Lib Dems for spending millions on updating its ugly HQ building in Winchester.

More recently, Lib Dems criticised HCC for not doing enough to reduce its carbon emissions.

Yet a main purpose of updating its HQ was to reduce its energy consumption. The refurbished building not only looks better, but uses less than half the energy and houses more people, enabling outlying energy-using office buildings to be disposed of.

Another example of unfair criticism came last week when a Lib Dem spokesman described HCC’s purchase of original artwork for its buildings over the past 20 years as “a shocking waste of public money”. This is simply untrue.

A decent, healthy indoor environment for anyone requires artwork. That is why our local hospitals and surgeries all have pictures on the walls.

So it is only a question of whether taxpayers’ money should be spent on copies or original artwork.

There is a real difference in value between original artwork and copies. Original artwork, if well chosen, will invariably substantially rise in value, whereas copies will not.

Former Tory council leader, Freddie Emery-Wallis, is reported to have master-minded the HCC programme of art acquisitions to “enhance the working environment for staff and visitors”, and he had a good eye for art and a responsible attitude to spending public money.

So I am not surprised that an art expert has said HCC’s artwork could now be worth millions.

Given the financial mess left by the Lib Dems when they ran HCC, perhaps they would have preferred copies to have lost money.

As for public access, every time people visit HCC’s public areas, meeting rooms and offices they can see the artwork, so it is accessible.

With a general election not expected until May, it seems the ‘silly season’ has started. Enough already!

Keith Story, St. Cross Road, Winchester.