10 pages of MFRA councillors’ expense claims for car mileage, tolls, parking and taxis

                                          

Below are ten A4 pages of expense claims submitted by councillors on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority for the 2014/15 financial year. It’s the first ten of eighty-nine pages and each thumbnail below should link to a more high-definition (and therefore readable) image for each page.

The councillors these pages are for are Cllr Lesley Rennie, Cllr Dave Hanratty, Cllr Leslie T Byrom, Cllr Robbie Ayres. The expense claims are for car mileage, parking, tolls on the M6 toll road and taxis.

The four page expense claim of Cllr Leslie T Byrom is because receipts for the M6 toll road weren’t submitted with the original claim but submitted later. The Midland Expressway Limited receipts for the M6 toll road although they look similar at first are for travel on different days (one for the 11th December 2014 and the other for the 12th December 2014).

FOA stands for Fire Officers Association, HQ is headquarters, FSMC is Fire Safety Management Committee, NW for North West and FSN for Fire Support Network. I’ve no idea what SRB, TDA or C&N stand for. If you know, please leave a comment.

Cllr Lesley Rennie car mileage expenses September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 January 2015 thumbnail

Cllr Lesley Rennie car mileage expenses September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 January 2015 thumbnail

Cllr Dave Hanratty expenses claim thumbnail

Cllr Dave Hanratty expenses claim thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage toll road December 2014 page 1 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage toll road December 2014 page 1 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage toll road December 2014 page 2 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage toll road December 2014 page 2 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom toll road receipt December 2014 page 3 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom toll road receipt December 2014 page 3 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom toll road receipt December 2014 page 4 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom toll road receipt December 2014 page 4 of 4 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage claim parking January 2015 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage claim parking January 2015 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage claim February 2015 thumbnail

Cllr Byrom car mileage claim February 2015 thumbnail

Cllr Ayres car mileage expenses December 2014 thumbnail

Cllr Ayres car mileage expenses December 2014 thumbnail

Cllr Ayres car mileage claim January 2015 thumbnail

Cllr Ayres car mileage claim January 2015 thumbnail

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.


Planning Committee to decide on plans for 26 flats on site of former Corsair pub in Bidston Village

                                           

John Brace on the site of the former Corsair pub, Bidston Village

John Brace on the site of the former Corsair pub, Bidston Village

The first month I started this blog I wrote a story on the demolition of the Corsair pub at one end of Bidston Village. I finished that piece by stating "I will be making enquiries to see if there are any future plans for the site." The site in 2015 still looks as much of an eyesore as it did when the photo was taken in 2010.

Verum Victum Healthcare Limited (the agents) have applied for planning permission for twenty-six one-bedroom apartments on the site of the former Corsair pub. The planning application will be decided when Wirral Council’s Planning Committee next meets (unless councillors agree to a site visit). You can see elevations for how the agent envisages it would look on Wirral Council’s website. The elevations however don’t show the metal railings around the perimeter to a height of 1.5 metres that are part of the plans.

Such a modern looking building of three stories would be out-of-place in Bidston Village and it’s sad that the designs submitted with the plans aren’t more in keeping with the surrounding area. Although the site of the former pub is just outside the Bidston Village Conservation Area, it borders the Conservation Area on two sides. Across the road to the east is Church Farm and the buildings to the north across the road are set back from the road. None of the buildings nearby are of a similar height.

The sheer size of what is proposed and the design would not be in keeping with the rural nature of this part of Bidston Village and I hope this planning application is refused by Wirral Council’s Planning Committee.

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.


FOI response details reasons why Fort Perch Rock car park charging plans were opposed

                                                 

Fort Perch Rock car park 29th June 2015 Photo 1 of 3

Fort Perch Rock car park 29th June 2015

After the U-turn last month on car parking charges at Fort Perch Rock car park, New Brighton I made a Freedom of Information request for the objections made during the consultation period.

In addition to a petition of objection which when the consultation finished had 876 signatures but now has 4,010 signatures there were nineteen written objections which included a thirteen page letter sent on behalf of the Wilkie Leisure Group.

Objectors referred to pay and display parking in Hamilton Square, Birkenhead and the reduction in visitors once charges for parking had started. Many objectors thought that car parking charges would put people off from visiting New Brighton. Some objectors thought that what charging would be unlawful. Others felt that Wirral Council ordering the pay and display ticket machines before the consultation on the proposed traffic regulation order started pre judged the outcome of the consultation.

The most detailed objection from Singleton Clamp & Partners Limited sent on behalf of the Wilkie Leisure Group stated:

  • " the reasons for implementing the charges are likely to be illegal under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Traffic Management Act 2004;
  • they are against Wirral Council parking policy;
  • there is no traffic management reason for their implementation."

The official reason for the U-turn given was the what was in the lease that meant that this could lead to parking charges elsewhere in New Brighton. Promenade Estates were quoted in a Liverpool Echo article by Liam Murphy that they would charge for parking at other car parks in New Brighton if charges at Fort Perch Rock car park were brought in.

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.

Posted by: John Brace | August 18, 2015

Which councillor claimed £72.05 for a dinner?


Which councillor claimed £72.05 for a dinner?

                                                            

Cllr Leslie Byrom Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority meeting 30th June 2015

Cllr Leslie Byrom Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority meeting 30th June 2015

 

Above is Cllr Leslie Byrom, Vice-Chair of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. He is one of the Labour representatives from Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council. Some readers may recognise him as the councillor who chaired the public meeting when councillors decided to close Upton and West Kirby fire stations.

Last year he submitted an expense claim to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. You can see this expense claim and the accompanying receipt below.

Cllr Leslie Byrom expense claim September 2014 page 1 of 2

Cllr Leslie Byrom expense claim September 2014 page 1 of 2

Cllr Leslie Byrom expense claim September 2014 page 2 of 2

Cllr Leslie Byrom expense claim September 2014 page 2 of 2

So, as you can see from the above the hotel receipt is for one night bed and breakfast (£100) and dinner (£72.05) which comes to a total of £172.05.

On the claim form however, despite Cllr Byrom signing a declaration that “I declare that I have actually and necessarily incurred additional expense” this £172.05 amount becomes £180. Someone has reduced the value of the claim £180 to £172.05.

Dinners costing £72.05 are of course technically within the expense claiming rules as if you read page 202 councillors can claim up to £180 for a subsistence allowance for stays in London.

However under the expenses system had Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service paid his accommodation directly, Cllr Byrom would’ve only been allowed to claim up to £47.81 for meals (a daily allowance of £56.82 minus £9.01 for the cost of breakfast).

As to whether spending £72.05 on a dinner is necessary. On an earlier stay at the same hotel, Cllr Leslie Byrom’s dinner was only £45.70 (see below).

Cllr Leslie Byrom hotel invoice February 2014

Cllr Leslie Byrom hotel invoice February 2014

Cllr Leslie Byrom expenses February 2014

Cllr Leslie Byrom expenses February 2014

As you can see he didn’t claim for the cost of the £45.70 dinner for that trip, but someone at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has increased the value of the claim to include it anyway!

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.


49 pages of secret expenses on fruit cake, stays at the Hilton, first class travel & taxis for councillors

                                                

At the end of this piece are 49 pages of invoices paid directly by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority. If a councillor pays for a meal or a taxi fare but claims the money back, it’s included in the annual totals for each councillor. You can view the table of annual totals for each councillor that was on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority website.

The pages of expenses below that cover stays in hotels, train fares and meals (which would usually be in the travel and subsistence or overnight categories of expenditure of that table) aren’t included. Below is what Regulation 15(3) of the Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003 states what should be included. Recipient refers to a recipient of a payment under the allowances scheme.

15. Records of Allowances
….
(3) As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of a year to which the scheme relates, an authority shall make arrangements for the publication within the authority’s area of the total sum paid by it in the year under the scheme to each recipient in respect of each of the following—

(a) basic allowance;
(b) special responsibility allowance;
(c) dependants’ carers’ allowance;
(d) travelling and subsistence allowance; and
(e) co-optees’ allowance.

 

The blog post Which Wirral councillor claimed £50 on taxis to and from a public meeting? includes a letter explaining why Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority doesn’t do this.

In that letter Janet Henshaw (Monitoring Officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service) writing on behalf of the Wirral councillors wrote:

“It was not possible to show travel & event bookings made directly by MFRA [Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority] (as opposed to members paying and then claiming back their allowances) due to the fact that this Authority uses an electronic software system to make each booking at the cheapest possible price for both members and officers. We were invoiced monthly in the last year for both Officers and Members without differentiation. Thus it would have been a wholly unreasonable use of scare resources to break this down each month between the two groups and then each and every individual.”
 

CFO on one of the receipts refers to the Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens. DCFO refers to the Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan. As some of the names of the councillors below will be unfamiliar to readers I include a key below. The key has the name of the councillor, political party, which local authority they represent (or represented as Cllr Ted Grannell and Cllr Tony Newman are no longer on the Fire Authority) and whether they hold the position of Chair or Vice-Chair on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.

Cllr Dave Hanratty, Labour, Liverpool, Chair
Cllr Linda Maloney, Labour, St Helens, Vice-Chair
Cllr Leslie T Byrom, Labour, Sefton, Vice-Chair
Cllr Ted Grannell (down on invoice as Ted Grenell), Labour, Knowsley
Cllr Tony Newman, Labour, Knowsley
Cllr Steve Niblock, Labour, Wirral

Read More…

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,594 other followers

%d bloggers like this: