The comment piece in the Daily Express today blasts 'fat cat' Coleman and his nose-in-the-trough behaviour. Here are some extracts:
"LIKE many people I’ve never been quite sure what David Cameron means by the “Big Society” but I am pretty sure it is not encapsulated by the figure of Conservative councillor Brian Coleman.
He is no volunteer giving up his time to serve his community.
It was revealed yesterday that Mr Coleman is pocketing £114,322 a year in allowances – more than the salaries earned by junior ministers in the coalition government. He receives £34,000 for sitting on Barnet council, plus £53,439 for sitting in the London Assembly and another £26,883 for being chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.
While MPs have quite rightly been lambasted over the past year for their greed and excessive expensive claims, local councillors have been quietly feathering their own nests – and getting away with it. In fact, the worst of them are beginning to make MPs look models of self-restraint."
"Barnet, which this year increased allowances for its councillors from £17,454 to £27,580 and that of its leader from £40,893 to £47,027, was revealed earlier this year to be one of the lousiest councils in the country for carrying out adaptations so as to allow disabled residents to continue living in their homes – with residents waiting more than five years.
The council has also done away with full-time wardens at old people’s homes, instigating instead a system of roving wardens who cover the whole borough. Councillors defended the scheme by promoting it as pioneering and an efficient use of money.
But now it seems some of the money saved will simply be disappearing into councillors’ pockets instead. It is extraordinary that at a time of severe financial constraint a council which promotes itself as a super-efficient flagship authority can be awarding itself pay increases.
Far from nearly doubling councillors’ allowances a council which truly cared about giving taxpayers value for money would be abolishing them altogether."
"Anyone who genuinely cares about how their local community is run does not need to be paid for attending a couple of meetings a month and making decisions."
" It is disgusting that public service has been debased by a generation of councillors merely out to line their own pockets."