Posts Tagged ‘expenses’

Lewisham Labour leader standing against transparency

March 4, 2010

At last Council meeting held this Monday 1st march Cllr Alan Hall, who is leader of the Labour group at Council, did a serious bit of grand-standing against Liberal Democrat disclosure of Councillor’s expenses.

His high sounding speech explained to all mortals that the £1300 taxi bill of Councillor Sylvia Scott was thoroughly justified by the fact that she is Vice Chair of the Council and as such wears a “Chain of Office” and you wouldn’t want to see someone wearing a Mayoral Chain going up and down buses.

I’m not sure I buy the argument in the first place, Ken Livingston never minded using buses, Boris Johnson cycles, and anyway Councillors receive an allowance that they can spend on cabs if that’s the way they want to travel for duties on those occasions that are not normally covered with extra expenses.

But there is another reason why Councillor Hall grandstanding is completely void of merit, and that’s that we are talking of the 2008/09 expenses, when the Vice Chair of the Council was Cllr Smith (who claimed no expenses at all), not Cllr Scott.

Victory on Councillors’ expenses transparency

December 12, 2009

From this week’s News Shopper:

A Council spokesman said:
“Papers published ahead of the standards committee did include a full list of councillors’ allowances and claims for expenses.
“However, these were not included on our website due to an oversight. We are grateful to the News Shopper for drawing this to our attention and details are now available online.

Can you smell it? It’s the sweet smell of victory!
After having been available from this blog as online exclusive the Councillors’ expenses list is now finally available from the Council’s own website (appendix 2 to item 6 at the bottom of this page).

Thanks to all those that signed the petition and joined the Facebook group. We didn’t get the official Council Spokesman’s thanks but we can surely pat each other on the back.
A big thanks goes to the News Shopper for picking up the story and helping us to make Lewisham Council more transparent.

Councillors’ expenses – the petition!

November 30, 2009

We the undersigned ask Lewisham Council to make the Councillors’ expenses list available online from the Council’s website with immediate effect.
We also ask Lewisham Council to produce an official statement explaining why these non-confidential papers were not published online together with the rest of the Standards Committee papers of 24th November 2009.

Click here to learn more about it and sign now.
You can also join the Facebook group.

The X files

November 28, 2009

You may have noticed an item in this week’s local press about Councillor’s expenses.

The South London Press tells us that:

“Proposals made at a Lewisham Council committee meeting could see all councillors’ claims made public in full”.

and also tells us that:

“Councillors’ expenses claims over the last year were also published in the report”

At reading this I thought, hold on, aren’t these information public already? And aren’t these two statements in contradiction with each other?

So I went on the Council’s website to look for those papers, I found the meeting report, but not the expenses’ list, those pages were missing.
How strange I thought, even given that in the News Shopper the Independent Chair of the Standards Commitee Sally Hawkins said:

“We decided it was important that the system is transparent so that people can see that what is being claimed is reasonable.”

Yes, sure people ought to see, only that it looks like your idea of transparency doesn’t involve showing us the expenses’ list. Now, that’s a very odd idea of transparency.

But despair not, because I’ve got them for you and I can here release the two missing pages with the full Councillors’ expenses list. (click here to download as pdf or click on images to enlarge)

And look! One senior Labour Councillor expenses’ list stands out like a sore thumb.
She’s Labour Councillor for Crofton Park Cllr Sylvia Scott that last year clocked up the tidy sum of £1300 in taxi fares, and this despite the fact that she doesn’t even have cabinet duties.
I bet that many or her constituents would like to know this, in fact it’s their right as this expenses’ list is public.

Could this be the reason why this list was not made available to the public on the Council’s website?

Frankly, the behaviour of Lewisham Council needs explaining here. To remove important papers from public viewing whilst making a press release glorifying their openness is ludicrous.

Don’t they understand how silly they look? And what about the misuse of the Council’s press office? Who thought of issuing this kind of patronizing nonsense as if we were kindly given some big concession when to know this was our right all along?

But the most important question is why this expenses’ list is not available from the Council’s website. Who decided that these pages should be removed?