Monday, 8 June 2009

Benefit thieves all


Wipe-out is the only description best to some up what the Labour party suffered nationally at the polls Thursday last in the local government elections.

As if local government had any real power in the great scheme of things, powers having been eroded over the course of the last twenty years and have left some councils like my own Newham (elections next year)run by a directly elected mayor. In Newham we have Sir Robin Wales, he is a Labour mayor or rather a 'New Labour' mayor, praised on many occasions for running it's flagship authority.
Recently Sir Robin wrote in the fortnightly Newham Mag, that's sent out to all residents in the borough: "The behaviour of some MPs over their expenses has unfortunately cast a shadow over all politicians. Just like you, I'm fed up with the way in which people from all parties have manipulated the system to enhance their own personal lifestyles at the expense of the taxpayers."

During the 2004/2005 financial year, Sir Robin's Mayor's Allowance (Band 5) was: £69,792. So four years on one can only presume that it's more and, add to that Travelling Allowances: The reimbursement of actual travel costs incurred whilst undertaking duties outside Newham.
Subsistence Allowances: The reimbursement of actual subsistence costs incurred whilst undertaking duties outside Newham. This allowance is limited to a maximum daily rate of £25.70 for meals and a maximum overnight rate of £102.75 for accommodation. So all in all this is a tidy little packet, a nice little earner for anyone fortunate to be on the gravy train, and not bad Sir Robin, easy money obtained with a minimum of effort. So it seems to me that when Sir Robin argues in regard to the expenses outrage that it is irresponsible along with greed practised by a privileged few, he is not only being hypercritical but belligerent in tone to those of us who suffer low incomes or try to make ends meet on unemployment benefit. Remembering that this Mayor said; people in Newham struggled to get out of bed by 11am as they were so used to being unemployed and he was "sick" of seeing large numbers of people wasting their lives on unemployment or incapacity benefits, this says's it all about the managers of capitalism locally in Newham, they are the same as them at the top of the rotten tree.

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