Who wouldn’t want you to read this story about the election of 4 Wirral councillors?

Who wouldn’t want you to read this story about the election of 4 Wirral councillors?

Who wouldn’t want you to read this story about the election of 4 Wirral councillors?

                        

Power
Power

George Orwell “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

This is a tale of power, money, elections and the public right to know. What happens next following this is a reflection of the society we all live in. I strongly suspect that very little will result. I’ve used my editorial independence to write this as my conscience is clear if these matters are in the public domain.

I would like to point out that until recent years the chairs of committees at Wirral Council were shared across the political parties. Labour however decided in the recent past that they wanted to keep the power that rests with chairs to themselves. Therefore that is the reason why all the main characters in this are Labour politicians. It’s nothing personal and I have no axe to grind against the Labour Party.

Like all good stories this tale indeed starts well before the election started. However, we will skip ahead to the beginning of the elections in 2016.

All candidates have to fill out what are termed nomination papers and deliver these nomination papers to Wirral Council by a deadline to be included in the election. The four candidates this tale (who were each elected as councillors) are Anita Leech, Janette Williamson, Mike Sullivan & Bill Davies (real name William Davies).

During the election (but not now after the result is declared) you have a legal right to inspect the nomination papers and request copies. I requested these 4 nomination papers from the Returning Office Eric Robinson.

In addition to the nomination papers, in order to be a valid and legal nomination various pieces of legislation need to be attached too. These pieces of legislation deal with who is disqualified from being elected. I presume the point of having to attach these for a valid nomination is to prevent candidates and agents at a later date claiming ignorance of what they mean.

The declaration they each have to sign (which also has to be witnessed) states the following,

“I declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief I am not disqualified for being elected by reason of any disqualification set out in, or decision made under, section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972, section 78A of the Local Government Act 2000 or section 34 of the Localism Act 2011 (copies of which are printed overleaf), and I do not hold a politically restricted post, within the meaning of Part 1 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, under a local authority, within the meaning of that Part.”
 

The nomination papers of each candidate are linked to at the end of this article.

The first part of section 80 declares:

80 Disqualifications for election and holding office as member of local authority.

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 81 below, a person shall be disqualified for being elected or being a member of a local authority … if he—

(a) holds any paid office or employment (other than the office of chairman, vice-chairman or deputy chairman [or, in the case of a local authority which are operating executive arrangements which involve a leader and cabinet executive, the office of executive leader or member of the executive]) appointments [or elections] to which are or may be made or confirmed by the local authority or any committee or sub-committee of the authority or by a joint committee [or National Park authority] on which the authority are represented or by any person holding any such office or employment; or

 

So what does that mean? Well he above also means she, but the employment bit means councillors cannot also be employees of Wirral Council as it represents a conflict of interest. Section 81 provides an exception for teachers and other people employed by schools (who are technically classed as local council employees) to be elected as councillors.

As you can see from the above, any Leader of a Council or Cabinet Member is also not excluded from being elected on those grounds.

Edited: 9/5/16 It’s been pointed out that s.80(1)(a) is open to different interpretations and chairman could be interpreted as all people with the title of Chair or just the Chair of Wirral Council (the Mayor). The guidance the Electoral Commission produce for Returning Officers on the matter is here and makes it very clear about the disqualification of candidates represented on outside bodies. That guidance however makes it clear that the relevant dates about disqualification (as determined in previous legal cases) are the date of nomination and the date of election.

Each of the four candidates I name above were at the time of their nomination and election holders of paid office at Wirral Council. I outline below which paid offices they held and the annual amounts they received. These are additional allowances in addition to the basic allowances they receive as councillors.

Anita Leech – Chair of the Planning Committee (£4,585)
Janette Williamson – Chair of the Transformation and Resources Policy and Performance Committee (£4,585)
Mike Sullivan – Chair of the Regeneration and Environment Policy and Performance Committee (£4,585)
Bill Davies – Chair of the Licensing, Health and Safety and General Purposes Committee (£4,585) and Chair of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee (£1,375).
 

None of these four individual resigned their chairs before the date they were elected and they continue receiving allowances for these at the time of writing.

I presume the whole point of this is to ensure a level playing field and free, fair and open elections. After all if one candidate can turn round and say “Vote for me, I’m Chair of the Planning Committe” and in theory use their taxpayer funded paid office to pay for their election expenses is that fair?

The observant among you will have already realised that the above disqualification also rules out those councillors representing the Council on outside bodies (off the top of my head the Police and Crime Panel, the Merseytravel Committee (or other committees of the Combined Authority) and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) are a few that I could name.

However I am not covering these here and it’s up to you the reader if you wish to explore whether any candidates in the election would seem to be disqualified on these grounds.

So what you may say? Even if the above four resigned, that would leave 35 Labour councillors and only 27 opposition councillors. As I say, I haven’t considered whether any candidates would be disqualified on any other grounds and as the deadline for submitting election expenses is a month away I haven’t inspected the declared election spending of candidates too.

However as the public have a right to know, here are the nomination papers of the four candidates I have named above.

Obviously the individuals (and their agents) have some unanswered questions as to whether they knew the above at the time of their nomination. It is only however my job to observe this anomaly and report on it, rather than be in a position to take action to resolve the matter one way or another.

The nomination papers are multi-page TIFF files as these were the format supplied by Wirral Council. I have not converted them to image files that can be read by a browser as I felt it best to leave them as they originally were.

I will end this with a big caveat, the above is merely how it seems from here. The people named could be totally ignorant of what disqualifies people from being a councillor (which would seem to be a difficult position to maintain as they had to include the legislation with their nomination papers). I could be wrong and the above could just be an arcane legal point.

Looking at a case where two Lib Dem Assembly Members were elected to the Welsh Assembly but were disqualified, one of those two successfully argued that the published Welsh guidance on the matter was out of date therefore disqualification was unfair.

However, I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on what I’ve written here.

Rock Ferry – William Davies (Bill Davies) nomination papers

Pensby & Thingwall – Michael Sullivan nomination papers

Liscard – Janette Williamson nomination papers

Leasowe & Moreton East – Anita Leech (nomination papers)

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Which Wirral Council councillor made 38 taxi journeys in 6 months?

Which Wirral Council councillor made 38 taxi journeys in 6 months?

Which Wirral Council councillor made 38 taxi journeys in 6 months?

                                                       

Eye Cab taxi invoice Wirral Council councillors
Eye Cab taxi invoice Wirral Council councillors

Yesterday Wirral Council responded to my FOI request for the more recent invoices from Eye Cab Limited for taxi journeys by councillors.

These don’t include taxi journeys where councillors have paid for the taxi themselves and then claimed back the cost.

Sadly, due to a lot of missing pages (curiously always the ones with councillors’ names on them), plus a number of pages scanned at such low quality making them very difficult to read, I’ve requested an internal review.

There was an £85 taxi journey listed on page 5. By the price list published on my blog here it comes to a taxi journey of around 67 and a half miles.

Sadly the second page of the invoice that invoice from May 2015 that would state who undertook this unusually long journey is not supplied. The invoice itself is of such low quality it’s hard to read how far this journey was. However if you’re going on a journey that far why not take the train instead?

In fact if the journey was by a councillor then Wirral Council’s constitution states (members means councillors):

8. Travel and Subsistence

Travel Costs

8.1 Travel costs incurred by members in performing “approved duties” as specified in Schedule 2 to this Scheme shall be reimbursed at the prevailing public transport rates, provided that the use of taxis or members’ private motor vehicles may be permitted where public transport is either not available, or the journey by public transport would be likely to result in unreasonable delay.”

Sadly as Wirral Council didn’t respond properly to this FOI request it’s impossible to tell whether a councillor took this journey or not!

However over the 6 months of invoices where names were supplied, here are how many taxi journeys were undertaken by each councillor at the taxpayers’ expense. For shared journeys I’ve counted it as one journey for each councillor sharing the taxi:

Cllr Moira McLaughlin (38)
Cllr Steve Niblock (23)
Cllr Bill Davies (13)
Cllr Irene Williams (5)
Cllr Pat Williams (2)
Cllr Kathy Hodson (1)
Cllr Denise Roberts (1)
Cllr Phil Davies (1)

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How much did taxis cost for councillors at Wirral Council through a contract with Eye Cab Limited between September 2014 and March 2015?

How much did taxis cost for councillors at Wirral Council through a contract with Eye Cab Limited between September 2014 and March 2015?

How much did taxis cost for councillors at Wirral Council through a contract with Eye Cab Limited between September 2014 and March 2015?

                                                           

Eye Cab Ltd taxi invoice Wirral Council October 2014
Eye Cab Ltd taxi invoice Wirral Council October 2014

During the 2014/15 audit I requested the contract between Wirral Council and Eye Cab Limited for LOT 4 (councillors taxis) called the Passenger Transport Contract. This is what the contract states about the invoices (pages 22 to 23):

2.3.8 Invoicing

Invoices should be submitted once a month for all journeys undertaken by Councillors for official business only. There will be no payment in advance for journeys. The invoice should contain the following information

  • Journey collection and arrival destinations

  • Date and time of journey

  • Name of the Councillor ordering the journey
Invoices will be paid at the price agreed between Wirral Council and the Contractor at the time of award of contract. If an overcharge is identified on an invoice a credit note will be required from the Contractor or a deduction for the amount owed clearly identified on the following invoice.

Invoices should be forwarded to:-

Carl Thompson
Legal and Member Services
Wallasey Town Hall
Brighton Street
CH44 8ED

However when I made a Freedom of Information request for the invoices for September 2014, October 2014, November 2014, December 2014, January 2015, February 2015 and March 2015, this was the response I got.

The invoices supplied don’t contain the times of journeys, or the journey collection or arrival destinations!

Wirral Council have also tried to black things out on these invoices (incompetently I might add with an image mask) because they class them as personal data.

All the underlying images of the invoices are still there as they’re using an image mask (that is the file contains two images that of the underlying invoice and over the top a further image used as a mask to black certain bits out).

Let’s start with the junior officer name at Wirral Council they blacked out which is Thompson, Carl S. [carlthompson@wirral.gov.uk].

Here’s the mobile phone number from this invoice: 0798 944 6652. I might point out that Eye Cab Limited publish this mobile phone number on their Facebook group page anyway.

Below are the totals by councillor for each invoice. The below are just journeys through this contract. It is possible for councillors to pay for taxi journeys themselves, then claim the money back from Wirral Council, in which case those figures would not be included below.

Invoice dated 27th September 2014 (LOT4/2)

Councillor Total Amount

Pat Hackett £5.20
Ron Abbey £43.40
Steve Niblock £9.40
Moira McLaughlin £42.80
Irene Williams £8.00

Invoice dated 4th October 2014 (LOT4/2)

Councillor Total Amount

Ron Abbey £56.60
Moira McLaughlin £16.00
Bill Davies £6.60

Invoice dated 4th October 2014 (LOT4/3)

Councillor Total Amount

Ron Abbey £34.00
Moira McLaughlin £31.00

Invoice dated 11th October 2014 (LOT4/5)

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £26.80
Ron Abbey £71.60
Bill Davies £6.60

Invoice dated 18th October 2014 (LOT4/6)

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £26.80
Pat Hackett £5.20
Ron Abbey £51.00

Invoice dated 24th October 2014 (LOT4/7)

Councillor Total Amount

Ron Abbey £76.00
Moira McLaughlin £31.50
Bill Davies £6.60
Muspratt £10.80
Pat Hackett £5.20

Invoice dated 31st October 2014 (LOT4/8)

Councillor Total Amount

Pat Hackett £5.20
Moira McLaughlin £18.80
Ron Abbey £71.00 *for two journeys includes waiting time of 5 minutes (£1) and 10 minutes (£2)

Invoice dated 8th November 2014 (LOT4/9)

Councillor Total Amount

Pat Hackett £15.60
Muspratt £12.20
Moira McLaughlin £33.40
Bill Davies £6.60
Niblock/Davies £10.80
Irene Williams £8.00
Ron Abbey £51.00

Invoice dated 15th November 2014 (LOT4/10)

Councillor Total Amount

Irene Williams £17.40
Pat Hackett £19.40
Steve Niblock £28.20
Bill Davies (down on invoice as W J Davies) £13.20
Moira McLaughlin £9.40

Invoice dated 22nd November 2014 (LOT4/11)

Councillor Total Amount

Steve Niblock (down on invoice as S. Niblock) £28.20
Moira McLaughlin £40.40
Bill Davies (down on invoice as W J Davies) £6.60
Irene Williams (down on invoice as I. Williams) £8.00
Muspratt (down on invoice as C. Muspratt) £12.20
Pat Hackett (down on invoice as P. Hackett) £11.80

Invoice dated 29th November 2014 (LOT4/12)

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £18.80

Invoice dated 6th December 2014 (LOT4/13)

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £9.40
Steve Niblock (down on invoice as Steve Nibkock) £37.60

Invoice dated 13th December 2014 (LOT4/14)

Councillor Total Amount

Steve Niblock (down on invoice as Steve Nibkock) £49.80
Moira McLaughlin (down on invoice as Moira McGlaughlin) £18.80
Bill Davies £13.20
Muspratt (down on invoice as Clr Muspratt) £12.20
Taxi Share £12.20

Invoice dated 20th December 2014 (LOT4/15)

Councillor Total Amount

Steve Niblock (down on invoice as Steve Nibkock) £59.20
Muspratt (down on invoice as Clr Muspratt) £12.20
Denise Realey (down on invoice as Denise Reaty) £8.00
Pat Hackett £11.80
Moira McLaughlin (down on invoice as Moira McGlaughlin) £10.80
Irene Williams £8.00

Invoice dated 10th January 2015 (LOT4/16)

Councillor Total Amount

Pat Hackett (down on invoice as P. Hackett) £11.80
Moira McLaughlin £79.40
Bill Davies £16.00

Invoice dated 17th January 2015 (LOT4/17)

Councillor Total Amount

Pat Hackett (down on invoice as P.Hackett) £9.40
Moira McLaughlin £28.20

Invoice dated 24th January 2015 (LOT4/18)

Councillor Total Amount

Irene Williams £8.00
Bill Davies £6.60
Moira McLaughlin £9.40
Niblock/Davies £12.20

Invoice dated 31st January 2015 (LOT4/19)

Councillor Total Amount

Steve Niblock £10.80
Bill Davies £6.60
Moira McLaughlin £28.20

Invoice dated 7th February 2015 (LOT4/20)

Councillor Total Amount

Steve Niblock £31.00
Moira McLaughlin £73.80
Williams/Muspratt £12.20
Irene Williams £9.40

Invoice dated 14th February 2015 (LOT4/21)

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £9.40
Steve Niblock £9.40

Invoice dated 21st February 2015 (LOT4/22)

Councillor Total Amount

Bill Davies £19.80
Irene Williams £8.00
Moira McLaughlin £9.40
Davies/McLaughlin £10.80

Invoice dated 28th February 2015 (LOT4/23)>

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £18.80
Bill Davies £18.40

Invoice dated 7th March 2015 (LOT4/24)

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £59.20

Invoice dated 21st March 2015 (LOT4/25)

Councillor Total Amount

Moira McLaughlin £28.20
Bill Davies £13.20
Irene Williams £8.00
Niblock/Davies £12.20


Grand totals (September 2014 to March 2015)

Cllr Pat Hackett £5.20 + £5.20 + £5.20 + £5.20 + £15.60 + £19.40 + £11.80 + £11.80 = £79.40

Cllr Ron Abbey £43.40 + £56.60 + £34.00 + £71.60 + £51.00 + £76.00 + £71.00 + £51.00 = £454.60

Cllr Steve Niblock (figures for Niblock/Davies not included here) £9.40 + £28.20 + £28.20 + £37.60 + £49.80 + £59.20 + £10.80 + £31.00 + £9.40 = £263.60

Cllr Moira McLaughlin (figures for Davies/McLaughlin not included here) £42.80 + £16.00 + £31.00 + £26.80 + £26.80 + £31.50 + £18.80 + £33.40 + £9.40 + £40.40 + £18.80 + £9.40 + £18.80 + £10.80 + £79.40 + £28.20 + £9.40 + £28.20 + £73.80 + £9.40 + £9.40 + £18.80 + £59.20 + £28.20 = £678.70

Cllr Irene Williams £8.00 + £8.00 + £17.40 + £8.00 + £8.00 + £8.00 + £9.40 + £8.00 + £8.00 = £82.80

Cllr Bill Davies £6.60 + £6.60 + £6.60 + £6.60 + £13.20 + £6.60 + £13.20 + £16.00 + £6.60 + £6.60 + £19.80 + £18.40 + £13.20 = £140.00

Cllr Muspratt (does not include Williams/Muspratt) £10.80 + £12.20 + £12.20 + £12.20 + £12.20 = £59.60

Cllrs Niblock/Davies (note not included in Cllr Steve Niblock’s amounts above and there are three councillors with the surname Davies) £10.80 + £12.20 = £23.00

Taxi Share £12.20

Cllr Denise Realey £8.00

Cllrs Williams/Muspratt (note not included in Cllr Muspratt’s amounts above and there are three councillors with the surname Williams) £12.20

Cllrs Davies/McLaughlin (note not included in Cllr McLaughlin’s amounts above and there are three councillors with the surname Davies) £10.80

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Why are Wirral councillors trying to kill off press freedom by a new public meetings filming ban?

Why are Wirral councillors trying to kill off press freedom by a new public meetings filming ban?

Why are Wirral councillors trying to kill off press freedom by a new public meetings filming ban?

                                              

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Video of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee from 3rd March 2015, the item on filming starts 43 seconds into the meeting

Surjit Tour (Monitoring Officer at Wirral Council) gives councillors his opinion at the meeting that he doesn't think the draft policy banning filming breaches the Human Rights Act 1998 3rd March 2015
Surjit Tour (Monitoring Officer at Wirral Council) gives councillors his opinion at the meeting that he doesn’t think the draft policy banning filming breaches the Human Rights Act 1998 3rd March 2015

Last year I wrote a piece on this blog headlined The day democracy and freedom of the press died at Wirral Council: 28th October 2014 and earlier this week published my email to councillors on the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee detailing my concerns about a proposed policy banning filming at public meetings of Wirral Council.

Last night councillors (as you can see from the video above) on Wirral Council’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee agreed to bash the final nail in the coffin of press freedom to report on public meetings of Wirral Council and recommended to all councillors at the next Council meeting on the 16th of March that press freedom remain dead and buried (that is they recommended a draft policy on the reporting of all public meetings of Wirral Council).

Around the time a new law (the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014) came into force last August, which prevented local councils stopping filming of their meetings, Eric Pickles was quoted as saying "How can we criticise Putin’s Russia for suppressing freedom of the press when, up and down the land, police are threatening to arrest people for reporting a council meeting with digital media?"

Labour councillors on the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee last night repeatedly prevented any discussion by opposition councillors on the controversial subjects of the closure of Lyndale School and library opening hours. If councillors from the ruling group can’t respect and listen to viewpoints they may not agree with, how can democracy actually function at all on Wirral Council?

Despite concerns I expressed at the meeting itself about the lack of consultation and concerns over whether the draft policy breached both section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 (in respect of Article 10 on freedom of expression) and Regulation 4 of the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014, councillors agreed to recommend it to the next Council meeting.

The draft policy (if approved by Council) will mean that at the start of the meeting the Chair will ask anyone if they have any objections to the meeting being filmed. If someone does object the Chair will stop the meeting being filmed. However any legal powers Chairs may have had to stop filming of public meetings were repealed by the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 last year.

The policy goes much further and states a ban on editing filming, photography or recording of a meeting that could cause “reputational harm”.

Wirral Council seem to not recognise the importance of the independence of the press and councillors on the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee don’t seem to think there is anything wrong with this policy.

If you’re from the Wirral and would like to make your views known to your local councillors ahead of the Council meeting on the 16th March, their contact details are on this page. As emails to councillors are no routinely filtered, I would suggest phoning or writing by mail.

If you’re have a WordPress blog, please feel free to reblog this post. If you’d like to write about the draft policy it is on Wirral Council’s website and the other papers and reports for the meeting can be found on Wirral Council’s website here. The code to embed the Youtube video of the meeting can be found by visiting Youtube and clicking on share then embed.

You can also give your opinion whether you think this policy is a good idea or not in the poll below:

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INCREDIBLE: £2,877.35 spent by Wirral Council last year in previously hidden payments on taxis for Labour councillors!

INCREDIBLE: £2,877.35 spent by Wirral Council last year in previously hidden payments on taxis for Labour councillors!

INCREDIBLE: £2,877.35 spent by Wirral Council last year in previously hidden payments on taxis for Labour councillors!

                                                              

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.

Every year, a legal requirement on Wirral Council means that they have to publish for each councillor how much was spent on travelling and subsistence allowances for each councillor.

The list published for 2013/14 is on Wirral Council’s website.

Last year I made a Freedom of Information Act request for a breakdown of payments made to three taxi firms (A.P. Contract Hire Ltd, Wallasey Cars Limited and Wirral Satellite Cars Limited) for taxi journeys made by councillors paid for by Wirral Council.

Here is the breakdown for each councillor, taxi firm and total amount for that financial year.

AP Contract Hire
Cllr Irene Williams £11.20
Cllr Phil Davies (Plus 3 Staff) £54.00
Cllr Steve Niblock £51.00

AP Contract Hire Total £116.20

Wallasey Cars
Cllr Bill Davies £25.00
former Cllr Brian Kenny £5.00
Cllr Christina Muspratt £10.10
Cllr Irene Williams £46.20
Cllr Joe Walsh £50.60
Cllr Moira McLaughlin £197.10
Cllr Pat Hackett £700.00
Cllr Steve Niblock £442.90
Cllr Tony Norbury £13.00

Wallasey Cars Total £1,489.90

Wirral Satellite Cars
Cllr Bill Davies £106.65
Cllr Chris Meaden £6.70
Cllr Christina Muspratt £159.40
Cllr Denise Realey £20.10
Cllr Harry Smith £25.20
Cllr Irene Williams £117.70
Cllr Joe Walsh £184.55
Cllr Moira McLaughlin £558.20
Cllr Phil Brightmore £7.30
Cllr Steve Foulkes £17.50
Cllr Steve Niblock £16.00
Cllr Tony Norbury £51.95

Wirral Satellite Cars Total £1,271.25

Grand Total £2,877.35

An amount of £10.20 for an Anne Davis for Wallasey Cars was also included in the response to my request, but as there is no councillor called Anne Davis, I have not included this amount in the figures above.

One thing to be noted is that all the councillors in this list are from the same party (Labour Party). Let’s take one councillor’s taxi expenses at random and compare them to the published list for 2013/14.

Cllr Moira McLaughlin’s taxi rides came to £197.10 with Wallasey Cars and £558.20 with Wirral Satellite Cars (total £755.30).

However next to Cllr Moira McLaughlin’s name on the published list of expenses are two entries. £40.10 for “expenses” and £167.29 for subsistence. This comes to a total of £207.39 that comprises the items detailed in the blog post expense claim forms for Councillor Moira McLaughlin 2013 to 2014. The taxi rides with Wallasey Cars and Wirral Satellite cars don’t appear at all despite regulation 15 requiring that Wirral Council publish the total annual sum paid by it for each councillor’s travel and subsistence allowance.

Taking another councillor from the list above, £700 was spent on taxi rides for Cllr Pat Hackett with Wallasey Cars. Yet when you read the published list for 2013/14 his expenses are down as £0 and travel expenses £0.

I would suspect that if I went through the list of councillors above I’d find that none of these taxi rides appear on the list that’s published each year. The response to my FOI request contains the line “The use of taxis’, and the associated costs, has been in connection with legitimate Council business.”

This all reminds me of that quote from Wirral Council’s former Chief Executive Graham Burgess of “We need to spend less on ourselves and more on services” and I wonder what the £2,877.35 spent on taxi journeys for councillors could have been spent on instead.

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