Monday 25 May 2009

Why is Mike Freer silent on MPs allowances?

Barnet residents must be wondering why Mike Freer, leader of the council and prospective Parliamentary candidate for Finchley & Golders Green has not taken incumbent Labour MP Rudi Vis to task over his allowances.

The Barnet Press reports that since 2006, Mr Vis has claimed £40,000 in interest payments for his London home. The Daily Mail has revealed that he also clocked up an astonishing £5,292 in mileage claims last year even though his constituency is just nine miles north of Westminster.

As Mr Vis is quick to point out, all his claims have been within the rules. That doesn’t make them morally acceptable and the public are justifiably outraged, so why the big silence from Freer? Could it be that on the subject of sticking one’s snout in the trough, he has form?

For it was Mike Freer who ignored Government recommendations and pushed through changes that have allowed him and his cronies on Barnet Council to stack up multiple Special Responsibility Allowances, even though guidelines say that councilors should claim no more than one.

As a result, Freer raked in £47,082 as leader of Barnet Council last year. Add to this the £24,248 he received from sitting on just two part time quangos and that adds up to a stonking £71,330 a year. Who needs to be cosseted by family money when it is so much easier to live off the backs of hard working taxpayers?

Cabinet Member for Resources Lynne Hillan has previously defended councillors receiving big allowances, claiming that they were worth the money because they could earn five times as much in the private sector. Last year, Brian Coleman received total allowances of almost £103,000.

Would all the private sector employers willing to pay Mr Coleman a salary of £500,000 a year please form an orderly queue as the nurse is ready to administer your next injection.

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