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?