Which St Helens councillor claimed £12 for a salmon dinner and a drink of Coke?

Which St Helens councillor claimed £12 for a salmon dinner and a drink of Coke?

Which St Helens councillor claimed £12 for a salmon dinner and a drink of Coke?


Cllr Linda Maloney (Vice Chair of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) 30th June 2015
Cllr Linda Maloney (Vice Chair of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) on the left of the photo speaking at a public meeting on the 30th June 2015

Continues from Which Wirral councillor claimed £50 on taxis to and from a public meeting?.

Pictured on the left of the photo above is Councillor Linda Maloney who is a Labour councillor from St Helens. She is also Vice-Chair of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.

Last year she received a basic allowance from St. Helens Council of £7,626, plus a basic allowance of £8,070 as she is on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and a further £12,105 as she is Vice-Chair of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.

Despite receiving £27,800 from the taxpayer for her public duties as a councillor (although presumably she wouldn’t receive all of this as some would go on Income Tax and National Insurance), she still claimed from the taxpayer for a salmon dinner and a drink of Coke at a total cost of £12 at a time when there are many people in Merseyside reliant on handouts from food banks!

Councillor Linda Maloney expense claim page 1 of 3
Councillor Linda Maloney expense claim page 1 of 3
Councillor Linda Maloney expense claim page 2 of 3
Councillor Linda Maloney expense claim page 2 of 3
Councillor Linda Maloney expense claim page 3 of 3
Councillor Linda Maloney expense claim page 3 of 3

Sadly we were only allowed to inspect photocopies of the expense claims and receipts. As you can see from the receipts above, like Cllr Steve Niblock she also claims for journeys by taxi. Unfortunately the receipts obscure the reasons given on her expenses form for this expenditure.

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

30 thoughts on “Which St Helens councillor claimed £12 for a salmon dinner and a drink of Coke?”

  1. John,
    Isn`t it the same food and drink claim. They are identical claim forms and receipts. If so then has she really claimed 3 times or just the once?

    1. I take your point. Sadly they only let me inspect photocopies.

      It is possible the same expenses form has been photocopied three times to show three different receipts (although why do that and include the same food/drink receipt each time?)

      There’s another receipt for staying at the Tavistock Hotel that I’ll check to see if it covers the same dates that this food and drink claim relates to. In order to give her the benefit of the doubt I’ll adjust the headline accordingly to just one claim rather than three.

      1. No, I don’t get it. It’s the same receipt- for the same meal on the same date at the same time. What a greedy pig!

        What does ‘opp spoke’ on the expenses list mean please?

        Thank you Star

        1. Opp Spoke stands for opposition spokesperson allowance. However as there are only two councillors in the “opposition” on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (one Conservative and one Lib Dem) I think the two opposition councillors have to decide which one will claim the opposition spokesperson allowance as opposition spokesperson for both political parties.

          I’m in the process of writing an appeal to ICO of this FOI request about Upton/West Kirby/Saughall Massie, but don’t hold your breath as I reckon the planning permission issue will be decided before ICO get around to deciding this one!

          1. Thank you John,

            But they get paid different amounts? I’m aware that Leslie Rennie gets more from other allowances etc, so maybe that’s why Robertson received more? But is there an open, transparent payment system here? Eg, if there were 2 Lib Dem/ Conservative members, would they have to share the allowance? Sorry if this a stupid question to you, but I don’t know and don’t know how to find out.

            And yes, I’ve been following your FOI requests. I watched your last you-tube video of the last MFRA meeting which discussed risk and the fact that Wirral has more fire-related deaths per head than the rest of Merseyside too.

            So when MFRA members vote to agree that they can longer afford to sustain the safety previously afforded to the residents of Wirral due to central government cuts, I’d suggest they have a few less salmon and coke dinners, take a train to meetings and take a buttie! And if they don’t have a bottle to use tap water, then a bottle’s about 55p in any co-op!

            1. As far as I remember each councillor can only claim one special responsibility allowance, so if they are entitled to two for example as opposition spokesperson and something else they’ll get the higher of the two.

              Cllr Lesley Rennie was opposition spokesperson from April 2014 to June 2014. She then became Lead Member for Operational Preparedness and as she can’t claim two special responsibility allowances stopped being eligible to claim an opposition spokesperson allowance.

              During June 2013 to June 2014 the opposition spokesperson allowance was £4,035 a year.

              Cllr Robertson was opposition spokesperson from July 2014 to March 2015. However a decision must’ve been made at the AGM to reduce the payment for opposition spokesperson to £2,018 a year.

              So it seems there’s just one opposition spokesperson for the opposition parties and not per a political party.

              The amounts paid and rules for claiming allowances for this time period would be detailed in the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s constitution for 2014/15 which can be found here.

              The Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s financial year runs from April to March, but it’s civic year runs from one AGM to another (June to June of each year). It’s at the AGM that any changes to the constitution are agreed and the various versions of the MFRA constitution can be found here.

  2. Mr Brace, I am unsure myself with this one, however that is a way around several expense claims, if you do not look to close at the Receipt, Invoice or other Financial Statement and the person giving the information is or maybe obstructive. You would have to see the Original Claim and Original Receipt to Change anything in your article

    1. The third example of the receipt shows that it’s for Jacques Wine Bar at the Tavistock Hotel. Each of the three receipts for the salmon are identical and each are dated the 12th June 2014.

      I can’t find a hotel receipt that tallies with it, although the same councillor did stay at that hotel later in the year as you can see below.

      Invoice Tavistock Hotel Cllr Hanratty Cllr Maloney

      Invoice Tavistock Hotel Cllr Hanratty Cllr Maloney page 2

  3. G’day John

    Much closer to home John in the local rubbish propaganda sheet.

    This from the labor cabinet member for Rock Ferry of all places.

    Wirral “Funny” Bizz was down Campeltown Road.

    Councillor Chris Meaden, Wirral’s cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: “It beggars belief that anyone could do something so mindless and irresponsible, destroying valuable and well-used fitness equipment and committing acts of vandalism in areas where families visit and in areas that are of considerable local and historical significance.

    “We’ll be liaising with the police closely over these incidents, making every effort to identify who is responsible and doing what we can to prevent similar incidents happening again.

    “If anyone has any information about what happened, I’d urge them to report it to the police.”

    No Ms Muppet Meaden how can you talk about anyone being mindless and irresponsible after well and truly letting a business, Wirral “Funny” Bizz in your electorate knock off about £2,000,000.00 and not even prosecute the sitting ducks.

    How effing irresponsible is your “Kitchen Cabinet” letting Adderley keep paying these thieves for 18 months after the whistle was well and truly blown.

    You should be ashamed of yourself and I don’t care if you have kids or not you are a disgrace to your family and Wirral.

    I thought you women were just bullied by “Ankles” and “Phil the Dill” but your hypocrisy and that ugly vile woman with her comments about Lyndale have convinced me Wirral Labor is just rotten right through male and female.

    Pity you couldn’t liaise with the police over Raworth and Turnbull, “Highbrow” reported Wirral “Funny” Bizz and even had a crime number till “The Shyster” took over.

    So if it someone goes to the police and reports say for example “Ankles” new stepson then there would be no case to answer, but if it is say his next door neighbour down the north end he would be jailed.

    What a ROTTEN ROTTEN Borough and it is your lot the most irresponsible..



  4. £12.00 for a salmon dinner, christ even with two jobs, i have trouble some weeks buying food as the council has upper my council tax to the max! and now i know why!

    1. Just to show you one example what some of your council tax is spent on at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (if the image is too small you should be able to click on the image for more high definition image):

      Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service invoice Jockey club Aintree Racecourse

  5. G’day John

    5.24am and I am up and still fuming over mad max meaden calling anyone irresponsible.

    As she says it beggars belief.



    These people make me physically sick, my doctor asks were do i go next to get justice?

    He keeps asking me about dark thoughts…

      1. G’day John

        I was aware “Ankles” nickname was mad max thanks to your wonderfully informative blog but it was 5.24 am and I was fuming.

        I am quite happy to call her as I did originally Ms Muppet Meaden from Ur anus.

        She has been there long enough to have done something about the evil barstards in that “Kitchen Cabinet” but she just goes along as though Wirralgate for example has nothing to do with her group.

        John I do enjoy WirralAl in the local rubbish propaganda sheet

        WirralAl says…10:36pm Wed 5 Aug 15
        The scum that live amongst us strike again ! Too many of these idiots keep dragging Birkenhead into a war zone. The park is not a safe place to take your family. They spend so much to make this park a nice place for all but these people would rather spoil it for a bit of strange amusement. The courts and the police need the power and support to get these idiots in prison where they belong!

        Is Big Al talking about the clowncillors John?



        Ps She would be better John being a clowncillor in Ur anus.

        Will they ever do the right thing John or will they go down fighting over Wirralgate, Wirral “Funny” Bizz etc etc etc

        Keep up the great work.

  6. G’day again John

    My doc also keeps asks if talking to a COUNCILLOR would help.

    I said I wouldn’t piss on a wirral Clowncillor if one was on fire.



    What do think Bobby47?

    Mindless, irresponsible what planet does mad max meaden come from?


  7. John,
    Re the invoice above for the Corbiere Suite.
    That Suite is in Aintree racecourse and the 87 people catered for on that receipt attended on a race day. It stretches credibility to believe that the whole of the suite was purely for the MFaR party,(no pun intended) and therefore was shared with other race goers. As no meaningful business could be addressed it must have been a social event.
    Therefore is that cost a legitimate expense? Who pays for a days racing for 87 people? Is there a list of the attendees?

    1. Just to clarify (in case there’s a misunderstanding), the invoice for Aintree is not connected to councillors’ expenses. I inspected invoices for general expenditure received by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and this was one of them.

      I have no idea who the list of attendees was.

        1. That invoice is from a previous financial year (2013/14) so it isn’t one of the ones I requested during the audit. So I’ve no idea.

  8. Just looking at the invoice again. The suite seats 300. Unless the 87 MFaR were the only people in the suite, which is most unlikely, then the hire of lecturn, computer etc, is a little odd if it was for business purposes. The only time the hired items could be used for business purposes, is 2 hours before racing starts, when access is allowed. But I would have thought, from past experience, that other people would be in the hall. So if others were in the suite, what was the purpose of the hired PA equipment etc?

    1. As I pointed out in my earlier comment, it’s an invoice to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service not to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority.

  9. Hi John,
    I don’t want to labour the point and appear too pedantic but is the MFR Serrvice firemen etc?
    Notwithstanding the above, some of my questions still stand. The day in question was a race meeting! If, as you maintain, our Council Tax paid for 87 people to attend, then do you think it a legitimate expense? Do you think, as I do, that a list of attendees must exist somewhere? Could anyone speculate on the need to hire all the expensive electronic equipment etc at that event?

    1. Hi,

      Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service employs uniformed staff for example firemen and non-uniformed staff.

      It’s not really for me to make a determination as to whether it’s a legitimate expense.

      If you want to make a FOI request to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service for the list of attendees you can do so on the whatdotheyknow.com website.

      On your other point, if you’re a local government elector for the Merseyside area, we’re in the period you can ask the auditor questions about the 2014/15 accounts. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is audited by Grant Thornton. The external auditors’ contact details are below:

      Mike Thomas
      Engagement lead
      T 0161 214 6368
      E mike.thomas@uk.gt.com

      Paul Basnett
      Engagement Manager
      T 0161 214 6398
      E paul.s.basnett@uk.gt.com

      In theory a local government elector can make an objection to expenditure, request the auditor to write a public interest report or ask the auditor to apply to the court that an item of expenditure is contrary to law. I’m sure the external auditors can explain this better than I have and probably have a leaflet they can email you explaining it all.

      In practice, the ability to ask a question (and receive an answer) probably circumvents the need for the other options.

      Hope that helps,

      John Brace

Comments are closed.