Friday, April 17, 2009

Tory fat cats first class rail scandal

It is interesting to read David Cameron in last Sunday's Times castigating his own MPs on "feathering their own nests" when in Hampshire Tory County Councillors are sitting "comfy cosy" in first class carriages whilst the rest of us are struggling.

Perhaps David Cameron should "have a word" with his local Tories who are certainly wasting tax payers money! Scratch the surface and it is the same old Tories underneath. Cameron said this weekend: “All week I’ve been receiving letters from people saying the same thing: how can MPs claim they’re helping people through the recession when so many of them seem to be feathering their own nests? “They are right to be angry. We need to sort this out immediately. But restoring trust in politics goes beyond expenses and allowances. At a time when families and businesses are being forced to cut back, politicians should be asking how they can help bring down the cost of politics across the board - it is taxpayers’ money after all.”Andover Liberal Democrats have used the Freedom of Information Act to expose how leading Hampshire Tory County Councillors are travelling First Class to London at Council Tax payers expense.
Hampshire Tories already under fire for spending over £4.5 million on spin and publicity which includes branded mints and pens, and millions on refurbishment of County Hall were caught out wasting tax payers money when Andover South Councillor Kirk was spotted travelling to London on the 23rd Jan 2009.
Councillor Kirk travelling on the 1004 from Andover to London was spotted sitting in the first class carriage on a off peak train not busying himself with the affairs of his Education portfolio but mulling over Andrew Marr’s political history of Britain. The off peak standard class return on what was a quiet train that day would have cost the residents of Hampshire £26.30 rather than the whooping “fat cat” price of £93.20.An angry fellow traveller identified Councillor Kirk as he was wearing his County Council identity badge and asked Andover Lib Dems to investigate. A freedom of information act request followed and Hampshire County Council admitted that they had provided Councillor Kirk the warrant to buy the first class ticket and for good measure threw in a expenses claim for 4 miles mileage and a £12.50 taxi fare.
Andover South Lib Dem candidate Vince McGarry said “This is typical of the waste we are seeing at County Hall, Councillor Kirk could have travelled standard class that day but choose to ride in first class which cost the hard up Council Tax payers of Hampshire an additional £66. He had the choice. It is a scandal of the highest order when you consider the Tories are cutting jobs at Test Valley and spending £4.5 million on spin, including branded mints and pens, £40 million on doing up their HQ. Tory councillors should be leading from the front and setting an example rather than wasting Council Tax payers cash”
For more information please contact Vince McGarry on 07517 212000

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