PRESS RELEASE FROM CLLR DUNCAN KERR, BOLSOVER DC
13th July 2011 not embargoed
Duncan was elected for the Green Party to represent Whitwell on Bolsover Council two months ago but has been appalled by the selfish practices of the controlling Labour group. He will be calling Cllr Eion Watts the Leader of the Council to account by posing a question at the Council meeting in Sherwood Lodge, Bolsover on Wednesday the 20th July.
Duncan said “I am determined to expose the scandalous practices that have turned Bolsover into a rotten borough to the embarrassment of residents, the MP Dennis Skinner and the leadership of the national Labour party who will be as shocked as I was to learn that:
- The basic allowance that Bolsover Councillors have voted themselves is over £10,000 pa, higher than all the other 300+ District Councils. Similar Councillors in Derbyshire take less than half this although their house prices and cost of living are higher.
- Not satisfied with double pay, up to half the Labour members get even more money for chairing Scrutiny Committees because they have ignored recommendations from their own government to hand these roles to opposition Councillors.
- Although Bolsover is one of the smallest, and poorest Councils in Derbyshire the greed of its Labour Councillors makes the total cost of Democratic representation and management over £1.1M that’s nearly £1 in every £5 collected in Council tax for the District.
- Public confidence in the Council is so weak that in the last 10 years no-one has ever attended a Council meeting to ask a question. Unlike local Parish Councils the over-paid Labour Councillors refuse to help hard working people by meeting in the evenings.
- Cllr Watts talks endlessly about the need for cuts and redundancies but his own financial plans show that in the next two years the Council will increase its balances by at least £4M to over £10M as it pockets the £4.2M transition grant from the government. This should be invested not in another Icelandic bank but in insulating homes, generating renewable energy and creating new green jobs.
- Whilst Council staff have been told to budge-up so their offices can be rented out, the Labour group have abused their position by turning the members areas into a private, under-used social club for their members only leaving new non-Labour councillors without a dedicated desk or PC let alone an office.
Duncan says “I may be a single green voice in a sea of red but I believe that the best disinfectant is the glare of public opinion and I intend to carry on exposing hypocrisy until every Councillor in Bolsover understands that the public will not tolerate excesses here anymore than they have in Westminster. The Labour Councillors need to start putting the needs of communities first before their own pockets. Their actions are crippling residents with high tax bills, creating unnecessary redundancies and dragging down the good name of Bolsover.
If any member of the public or press shares my indignation at this scandalous situation I would urge them to come and show their support at the Council meeting at 10.00 on Wednesday the 20th July in Sherwood Lodge, Bolsover. I’m sure we will all be fascinated to hear what Cllr Eion Watts Leader of the Council has to say”.
There will be a photo-call at 9.15am on Wednesday the 20th July at Sherwood Lodge, Bolsover when Duncan will attempt to present a bill for £1 million to the Bolsover Labour party representing the cost to residents of the over-payment of member expenses from 2006 to 2011.