Thursday 16 September 2010

Dundee Councillors' expenses

As reported in today's Courier (and last night's Evening Telegraph):

"Details of the thousands of pounds in expenses claims made by Dundee councillors have been revealed by the city council.

The release of a list outlining every single item councillors claimed for from the public purse in the last financial year only came after the intervention of the Scottish information commissioner."

Over the past few weeks I have been in correspondence and discussion with David Dorward, the City Council's Chief Executive, about this matter. Whilst it is good that the information has finally been revealed, I would make two points :

a) It is a pity that it has had to take the tenacity of our local DC Thomson press, my discussions with the Chief Executive and the intervention of the Information Commissioner to get the council to release the information. It should have been released voluntarily by the council as a matter of course and in the interest of openness and transparency. This is public money and the public has the right to how it is spent.

b) The council did not provide copies of the actual receipts - only a list of the detail. It should have released the receipts. If it is good enough for Westminster, it should be good enough for Dundee City

I said in the Courier today that the u-turn on this issue by the council is a positive step, adding :

"I am pleased to hear this information has been made available and it is only right and proper that it is."

Both my LibDem colleague, Cllr Helen Dick, and I have claimed no expenses whatsoever, throughout our time on Dundee City Council. We will continue to make no expenses claims.