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Posted by: John Brace | 16th March 2015

Was there no available public transport when Wirral Council councillors took taxis?

Was there no available public transport when Wirral Council councillors took taxis?

                                                  

Hackney carriage by Ed g2s

Hackney carriage by Ed g2s

Hackney carriage by ed g2stalkOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The question I will be asking at tonight’s Council meeting to Councillor Adrian Jones is to do with a blog post I wrote back on the 26th January headlined “INCREDIBLE: £2,877.35 spent by Wirral Council last year in previously hidden payments on taxis for Labour councillors!”.

It led to Row as Wirral Labour councillors rack up nearly £3,000 expense claims for taxis by Emma Rigby in the Wirral Globe, a Granty’s Inferno column headlined GRANTY’S INFERNO: Taxi-happy Wirral councillors are taking us all for a ride and someone writing a letter in to the Wirral Globe Not ‘horrified’ by Wirral councillors’ taxi fare bill.

Below is the text of my question to Councillor Adrian Jones (the Cabinet Member for Support Services):

“Each year Wirral Council is required to publish annual totals of what councillors have claimed in travel expenses. Due to contracts with various taxi firms invoicing Wirral Council directly thousands of pounds of expenses weren’t included in the list for 2013/14.

The Members Allowance Scheme states that the use of taxis (or councillors’ own cars) for attending meetings is only permitted where public transport is either not available, or the journey by public transport would be likely to result in unreasonable delay.

For the taxi journeys made by councillors not included in the annual published lists for 2013/14 and those made since can you confirm:

(a) each journey was taken where there is no available public transport (or taking public transport would lead to unreasonable delay) and if not will councillors involved be refunding Wirral Council and

(b) what changes will be made so that the expenses for such journeys made in 2014/15 will be included next time the annual lists are published?”

Since the MP expenses scandal a number of years ago, there is much more transparency now over MP’s expenses. If I wanted to I could go on a website and search for my MP’s taxi expenses.

For example by looking at that website I can tell you that my MP Frank Field travelled by taxi on the 10th October 2014 from Rock Ferry to Conway Park station costing £6. I doubt there’ll ever be that level of openness and transparency for expense claims by councillors, but during the audit last summer I exercised my right to request (see s.15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998)the documentation providing amounts, what transport they used, mileage et cetera for travel expenses for councillors during the 2013/14 financial year.

A lot of paperwork was provided (which I published on this blog), but the detail about taxi journeys by Labour councillors revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request here was not (and this is only the annual totals and not at the detail of each journey).

It’s only if information was provided on the level of detail of each journey that the question about whether there was no available public transport could be answered. I’m sure Wirral Council should have this information from the invoices from the taxi firms. When this part of the passenger transport contract was put out to tender this year lot 4 was described as follows:

“LOT4 – This contract is for ad hoc journeys by taxi to allow Wirral Councillors to travel to various venues across Wirral.

This contract will allow Wirral Councillors to travel around Wirral on official Council business. The times will vary and may include evening and weekends.”

I look forward to hearing Councillor Jones’ answer this evening!

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Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Karl Mercer for Independent Councillor of Seacombe.

  2. G’day John

    Hope all went well for you last night.

    So Ecca got the job…GREAT

    Another lamb for “The Dunny Chain Wearer” to slaughter.

    A new audience for an even more furious Irreverent Aussie.

    Four years on but never forgotten. Less a few weeks.

    Ooroo

    James

    WIRRAL “FUNNY” BIZZ WIRRAL “FUNNY” BIZZ WIRRAL “FUNNY” BIZZ

    • The question about Enterprise Solution (North West) Ltd got asked though of Cllr Phil Davies.

      You can see what Cllr Stuart Kelly asked and Cllr Phil Davies’ answer was in the video below:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R564m62c2QE#t=27m15s

      • G’day John

        You and Simon Kelly are true heroes vote Lib Dem.

        Couldn’t hear clearly John, not your fault, but ACTIONS speak louder than words when it comes to this lot.

        Seeing will be believing.

        I won’t believe until “Highbrow” is courted and feted.

        Boy he has to see his “Ugly Twin Brother” about comb over lessons you could be blinded. Hope you have a filter it is more dangerous than the upcoming eclipse. Children should be warned.

        I agree with whoever it was about “The Dunny Chain Wearer’s” sense of humour he is a truly hopeless joke.

        Talking of “Phil the Dill” his “Ugly Twin Brother” and “The Dunny Chain Wearer” what is the Wirralgate latest?

        I didn’t hear it. I didn’t hear it. I didn’t hear it.

        Oh yes you did.

        Luv your work John can’t wait to tell “Spotty Dog” about the players and the Wirral “Funny” Bizz four year saga involving (in no particular order)

        Humpty Dumpty
        Crabapple
        The Dunny Chain Wearer
        The Pretend Friend
        The Shyster
        The Chamber Potty
        Phil the Dill
        His Ugly Twin Brother
        The Football Shirt
        Gra Gra and his 29 mistakes in seven seconds
        The Raving Loony
        The nutter from the silly little community centre with numerous business plans at £3,000 a pop.

        Nearly forget the very angry….

        He who can talk for twenty minutes without breathing or saying anything. ner ner ner ner ner yo never got the job.

        plus the supporting cast of 50 odd clowncillors who have let Enterprise Solutions/Wirral “Funny” Biz slink off to Portugal to sun themselves and pickle their livers and with hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds of Wirrals hard earned err I mean European money but don’t mention that John they might not give us any of our money back again if it can’t be managed.

        But I suppose the contracts are very complicated and it’s not our money is it “Football Shit”

        Ooroo

        James

        We might even ask Ecca for an audience seeing “The Dunny Chain Wearer” won’t court and fete us.

        Brilliant John keep it up.

        • Here’s the question and answer given:

          CLLR STUART KELLY: Thank you Mr Mayor. I’ve given notice of my question to the Leader.

          The Leader of the Council should be aware that Enterprise Solutions is likely to be dissolved under Section 1000 of the Companies Acts by 13th April.

          He should also be aware that the report of Grant Thornton to the special Audit and Risk meeting on 8th October recommended that the Council should consider whether it can, or should, claw back the Business Investment Grant given via Enterprise Solutions, trading as Wirralbiz, to the applicant identified in their report as BIG6.

          We are still awaiting the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills report into these matters and I understand moves to claw back this public money are delayed whilst we wait.

          Can I ask the leader what instructions he has given to officers to ensure that Wirral Council, and Wirral taxpayer’s, interests in this matter are being protected and whether he will ensure that the application to wind up Enterprise Solutions is opposed?

          MAYOR: Councillor Davies?

          COUNCILLOR PHIL DAVIES: Thank you Mr. Mayor. Thank you to Councillor Kelly for advance notice of this question.

          The response is as follows:

          Council officers are discussing matters with the Department for Communities and Local Government and BIS (Business, Innovation and Skills) with regards to ISUS which is the Intensive Startup Service and whilst in principle the Council is agreeable to the cessation of any action to dissolve Enterprise Solutions Ltd, it is appropriate that both DCLG and BIS also agree to this course of action given that they hold key evidence in respect of ISUS and the conduct of Enterprise Solutions Ltd and therefore Council officers will be writing to Companies House accordingly and I’ll obviously keep the Council advised of any further developments. Thank you Mr. Mayor.

          • G’day John

            Thanks for this.

            Heavens to Murgatroyd.

            I thought I wouldn’t say what I really wanted too out of respect to you.

            Simon Kelly has asked about BIG and “Phill the effing Dill” is talking about ISUS.

            I hope they are are being deliberately stupid because it just beggars belief they can be so bone headed. And balding badly.

            The officers are just taking the mickey what has their legal action got to do with DCLG and BIS just more and more crap after almost four years.

            These peoples poor families living with these deliberate, bare faced scumbags.

            I wish Bobby47 could dictate to me.

            It’s funny they don’t all take wobblies when they stand up to speak utter bullshit and untruths and irrelevant rubbish.

            Ooroo

            James

            • G’day again John

              As you can probably tell I am fuming.

              From Council meeting.

              Council officers are discussing matters with the Department for Communities and Local Government and BIS (Business, Innovation and Skills) with regards to ISUS which is the Intensive Startup Service and whilst in principle the Council is agreeable to the cessation of any action to dissolve Enterprise Solutions Ltd, it is appropriate that both DCLG and BIS also agree to this course of action given that they hold key evidence in respect of ISUS and the conduct of Enterprise Solutions Ltd.

              If there is any decency around local government what they will really be discussing is the claw back from the council for their revolting and despicable actions over the past four years.

              They truly deserve a fine from Europe and never be given another penny till they are open honest and transparent on this issue.

              Wirral “Funny” Bizz was a wrong un ….proven….. and this most improved clowncil are still defending them to the hilt.

              It stinks like Stella’s Wirral Waters.

              Ooroo

              James

              Ps Lets see what Ecca’s opinion is?

  3. So they don’t use public transport as it could lead to delays, buts its fine for the rest of us plebs who have to get to work on time etc,
    As for for all the taxis rides why don’t they get some sponser from a car dealer of a hybrid thus saving the planet of dirty taxis fumes, I’m sure they have someone spare they could then use as a driver to drop people off and pick them up at later time, and save tax payers money in the long term.

  4. G’day John

    The man is deluded. His brains must be going with the hair.

    From the Leaders Bog

    Most Improved Council in Britain – Official!

    LGC Awards 2015 Winner I hope by now you will have heard the fantastic news that Wirral has been officially recognised as the most improved Council in Britain.

    I could not be prouder of the progress we have made together over these past few years. At times, we have had to follow a difficult path as we sought to tackle the well-documented problems that existed within this Council.

    I won’t waste any more space on your blog with this rubbish.

    Wirralgate

    Wirral “Funny” Bizz

    There is no effort to resolve these issues because they would be humiliated.

    Gra Gra would have none of it.

    If anyone believes this they would believe in Stella.

    Ooroo

    James

    Let’s see if they can pull the wool over Ecca’s eyes.

    They will be busy in Hooligans Bar.

  5. G’day John

    Just as a bit of a counter balance to THE LEADERS BOG a post from the rubbish paper from over Stella’s Wirral Waters.

    Paul Cardin •

    Dear Wirral Council,

    Thank you for the 2014 instalment of taxpayer cash which helps to fund our publication.

    By way of appreciation, please find enclosed the “Most Improved Council” award.

    This ranks alongside the 2008 “Children’s Services” award given to Rotherham Council at the height of the most hideous, unchecked child abuse,

    Your obedient servant,

    The Local Government Chronicle

    The Cardin man is a Wirral Hero.

    Ooroo

    James

  6. […] On Monday I wrote Was there no available public transport when Wirral Council councillors took taxis?. […]


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