Thursday, 8 April 2010

Labour Councillors award themselves another trip at your expense

I enjoyed today's Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Board meeting - lots of interesting papers, and I had plenty of questions to ask. I got the distinct impression that by the end of the meeting, the Chair was getting a bit fed up with me! I think it's only right that when officers put work into the papers before us, that they are properly scrutinised.

I was particularly concerned by the lack of detail in a proposal to move from three areas in Glasgow to two, not least as the papers had no detail on the cost or full personnel implications of the proposal. Oddly, Calton and Parkhead will move to the South of Glasgow! I'm still kicking myself for not moving that the paper be brought back with more detail to a future meeting, but given the composition of the board, the vote would have been unlikely to pass in any event.

There was also a proposal to send the Convener and one Vice Convener (both Labour, as it happens) to the INTERSCHUTZ
conference in Leipzig. Sounds fairly innocuous until you look in the papers and realise that the cost of their attendance at this four-day conference was a rather extravagant £5,900. The cost of actually attending is free, so this sum was to meet the travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for two people. Quite rightly, a few of my colleagues on the board questioned the wisdom of this expense in the current financial climate, and moved rejection of the trip. Labour Councillors rallied round their Convener and Vice Convener's right to attend, and one even accused the SNP of bigotry for daring to suggest it was a waste of money. We were outvoted by fifteen votes to eight. It's frustrating to witness that even in these times of scandals and belt tightening, there's still an appetite in Labour-dominated institutions to splurge on foreign trips.


emma said...

This may be a silly comment but surely people who actually know about fire prevention should go to these things and not councillors?

BellgroveBelle said...

You'd think! Four members of staff are also going, which I think is fair enough. It's a big conference and they'll get a lot more out of it than the Councillors. Not good value for money at all :-(

Hythlodaeus said...

£6,000 for four days is rather ridiculous.

I'm heading to Brussels - a city with similar levels of accommodation and similar costs - for four days in a few weeks for a conference. My costs for it are well under £500.

I'm also extremely confused as to how you could be accused of bigotry for suggesting that councillors don't attend. I don't suppose there is anything you could do to get the chap in question to apologise?

joe90 kane said...

Councillors with taxpayers money to burn going on a fire-prevention junket abroad - you couldn't make this stuff up.

subrosa said...

It's up to the people of Glasgow to waken up to what their money is being used for. But of course, with so many labour voters in the benefits culture, they really couldn't care less.

Difficult to get this kind of labour behaviour publicised I know, but it's worth a try. Well done for recording it.

Anonymous said...

And how many trips abroad as Councillor Thoms been on looking at car parks?

How much has that cost ?