The amounts paid to councillors by Wirral Council and separately for the Mayor of Wirral has (finally) been published. Unfortunately the amounts for outside bodies (eg Merseytravel, Merseyside Police Authority, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority) have yet to be received by Wirral Council (but should be published sometime by the relevant … Continue reading “Councillors Allowances – Details published by Wirral Council”
The amounts paid to councillors by Wirral Council and separately for the Mayor of Wirral has (finally) been published.
Unfortunately the amounts for outside bodies (eg Merseytravel, Merseyside Police Authority, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority) have yet to be received by Wirral Council (but should be published sometime by the relevant authorities).
However I can now write that Labour’s candidate Cllr. Harry Smith has received this year from Wirral Council, £13,316.24 (£256/week) in 2010/2011 and £14,269.66 in 2009/2010 for being a Bidston & St. James ward councillor.
During the election period (29th March to 5th May) he will receive approximately £1500 ([edit 22/4 – from approx £1400]) for being a local councillor from the taxpayer.
It remains to be seen where the source of funds are for his reelection campaign, but last year the local Labour Party branch of Bidston & St. James donated hundreds of pounds to get their candidate reelected as well as some expenditure that helped all Labour candidates by the Labour Group of councillors. Per each Labour voter in Bidston & St. James that voted for him last time over the 4 years (minus one week suspension) since he’s been elected Harry Smith received about £38.31 from Wirral Council.
If you don’t feel he is value for money, on May 5th (or earlier if you receive your postal ballot) vote Liberal Democrat. We’re the only ones who can beat Labour here, with the Conservatives coming 3rd last time (10.8%) and UKIP 5th (3.31%).
Our first past the post voting system means if you vote Conservative or UKIP this time you are just helping Labour to win here.
Its stated activity is “to work for the benefit of Beechwood residents” (which to me sounds very much like a job description for a Bidston & St. James ward councillor!). According to the Charity Commission, its accounts for 2005/2006 are over 4 years late! The accounts for the financial years ending 2008 and 2010 were both received over a month late and the accounts for 2009 are overdue by a year.
Its annual return for 2006 was submitted nearly a year late, the 2009 one was 23 days late and the 2010 annual return is currently over 2 months late. Cllr. Harry Smith is not the sole trustee, there is also a Mr. John Bernard Fletcher. Yet how can the public have confidence in a charity spending over ten thousand pounds most year when it can’t comply with the Charity Commission requirements?
Cllr Harry Smith is also a trustee of the Gautby Road Play and Community Centre Joint Management Committee. Although this charity with an income of over £100,000 a year has its paperwork up to date, it has come under a great deal of criticism from local residents for keeping its playground locked and not available to be used by the children of Bidston of St. James.
So vote Lib Dem because:-
a) Your Lib Dem candidate is in favour of healthy exercise for children in local play areas and against padlocking them (which doesn’t to my knowledge happen anywhere else on Wirral).
b) Your Lib Dem candidate believes in openness and transparency when it comes to local charities. Everyone should be able to view a charity’s accounts and annual report. There are also strict rules on charities and political parties.
If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.
Cllr Harry Smith – Point of order Mr. Mayor, I do believe that you asked for the gallery cleared of all people except for the lady with the disability. I do believe there are people creeping back in.
Mayor: No, I haven’t…
Cllr Smith continues talking over the Mayor: I think everyone should be cleared except for the lady.
Mayor: Security asked my permission and I gave it.
Cllr Smith: Well, Mr. Mayor, I’ve got to say that the people who are there are political party members and there’s such thing as (at this point he gets drowned out by the Deputy Mayor Cllr Moira McLaughlin, Labour councillors, Lib Dem councillors, Tory councillors and others)
Cllr Smith: Mr. Mayor, I think you’re allowing some people to come back but not others. There was others who were very quiet up there. They’ve made no arrests of anybody but cleared with the noisy ones.
Mayor: I note your comments.
Cllr Stuart Kelly: From the opposition, you can see that there are a number of other people that have been allowed back in.
Mayor: There are a number of people up there listening to the debate very quietly.
Cllr Harry Smith: I’ll will just reiterate that everybody was asked to be cleared from the public gallery. That’s all.
Mayor: Yes and I do,
Cllr Harry Smith (interrupting the Mayor again): And some quiet ones, had to go and no doubt they don’t know now. So they’ve missed out on the opportunity of coming back and listening to the debate and I just think it’s unfair that some are and some aren’t.
Mayor: OK, Cllr Mountney.
Just for the record, the Labour Party (and its union sympathisers) planned before the meeting started to disrupt the meeting seemingly to get the Budget delayed to the reserve budget date a week later. When one noisy heckler was thrown out, another started. The Lib Dem Mayor decided to adjourn the meeting. At this point he asked for the public gallery to be cleared.
The adjournment lasted longer than originally stated (whether the rumour that a councillor had gone to get a pizza was true or not I don’t know). However the journalists (who had their laptop set up tweeting) and the petitioner were allowed to stay in the Council Chamber. The Council has a legal duty to provide for journalists at the meeting and nothing had (yet) been decided in response to the petition.
Anybody who wanted to hear the rest of the meeting was ushered into Committee Room 1. A few people refused to leave the public gallery.
In Committee Room 1 Cllr. Jeff Green couldn’t be heard giving his speech as the volume on the speakers was too low to be heard and a member of the public started smoking. However all the building staff (which had been supplemented by Community Patrol and police) except one were either in the public gallery supervising the one or two people left in the public gallery.
Clearly things could’ve been managed better and the fact people were delayed from joining the council meeting until about twenty minutes after it started didn’t help the mood of the public. After most had left, those remaining in Committee Room 1 were invited back to the public gallery to hear the rest of the meeting.
I’ve stood as the Bidston & St. James Liberal Democrat candidate in 2007, 2008, 2010 and this year. Each year a Green candidate called Bowler has stood, as the ballot paper is listed alphabetically by surname I have always been number 2! Has the Green party given up here?
In addition to there being no Green candidate there is no BNP candidate either (which I am pleased about)! I was half expecting an independent George Thomas to stand against Harry Smith again as he did in 2007.
So you will have a choice of only four candidates on May 5th.
John Michael Brace
Jenmaleo, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, Wirral, CH43 7PH (in Bidston & St. James ward)
Helen Frances Romnes
6 Pleasant Street, Wallasey, CH45 5EU (in New Brighton ward)
25 Holmlands Drive, Oxton, Birkenhead, CH43 0QY (in Oxton ward)
Jerrold Samuel Vickers
13 Bramwell Avenue, Prenton, CH43 0RG (in Prenton)
However, if you wish to vote for a local candidate, the Liberal Democrats are your only choice. As the Liberal Democrats came 2nd last year, voting Conservative or UKIP will result in Labour being elected.
I do wish all candidates the best of luck with their election campaigns and look forward to hearing from them. However I have already made my mind up to vote Liberal Democrat, so you may have to try persuading someone else to vote for you. 😉
As I really doubt Cllr. Harry Smith is aware of the law on this I will quote it here (with a little underlining of the relevant points):-
"Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960
1 Admission of public to meetings of local authorities and other bodies.
(4) Where a meeting of a body is required by this Act to be open to the public during the proceedings or any part of them, the following provisions shall apply, that is to say,—
(c) while the meeting is open to the public, the body shall not have power to exclude members of the public from the meeting and duly accredited representatives of newspapers attending for the purpose of reporting the proceedings for those newspapers shall, so far as practicable, be afforded reasonable facilities for taking their report and, unless the meeting is held in premises not belonging to the body or not on the telephone, for telephoning the report at their own expense."
As Cllr. Smith well knows the press table is situated in front of the Labour benches in the Council Chamber. There are no "reasonable facilities" in the public gallery as there’s no large flat surface to write on.
It got so bad that to sum up the words of one member of the public (previously a councillor) in the public gallery "My brain hurts and I’m going home". Cllr. Foulkes gave long speeches about how he believes in scrutiny and democracy. However not it seems in respect of any Labour Party councillors. His own councillors heckled both members of the public during the time they asked questions, Cllr Adrian Jones slandered me (why can Labour never get their facts right?) and behaved like spoilt children who’ve had their toys taken away throwing a temper tantrum merely because a couple of people asked one of their councillors questions.
As if Labour councillors wasn’t bad enough and I am being serious now (surely you can’t be serious I hear you say) a senior officer was even heard making racist remarks about my wife. Officers are supposed to be politically neutral and adhere to the officer’s code of conduct.
I am a person who believes in freedom of speech; but until the Labour Party learns some respect and manners; I will continue to be ashamed that I’m represented in Bidston & St. James ward by three Labour Party councillors.