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Islington Council hit by new expenses row

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 June 2011 | UPDATED: 10:56 23 June 2011

Islington Town Hall

Islington Town Hall

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»A new expenses row has broken out at Islington Council – just weeks after its crime chief resigned after she claimed more than £2,600 she was not entitled to.

Labour councillors Marian Spall and Claudia Webbe have both drawn attendance allowances of £3,000 for roles on the adoption and fostering panels – despite each going to fewer than half the meetings.

Cllr Spall went to just five of 14 adoption panel meetings, while Cllr Webbe attended only six out of 22 sessions of the fostering panel.

Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition at the council, said: “To claim the full £3,000 for attending a third or less of the meetings isn’t fair. It makes a mockery of Labour councillors saying there is no money to go round.

“Labour needs to get its house in order. These councillors are raking it in while thousands of local residents are struggling financially.”

The news comes just weeks after Cllr Barbara Sidnell stepped down from her post as executive member for community safety over £2,646.54 in childcare claims.

Checks

The Labour group responded that Cllr Spall and Cllr Webbe had been unable to attend meetings before they passed CRB checks, due to the nature of the work.

Cllr Kate Groucutt, Labour’s chief whip, said: “This process took almost three months and explains why they missed a number of the initial meetings.”

Council officers have confirmed that Cllr Webbe was only eligible to attend 16 fostering panel meetings after passing the CRB.

Cllr Groucutt added that the allowances had been reduced from £4,000 after Labour took control of the council in May last year and said: “Before the election, Liberal Democrat councillors sitting on the same committee claimed a bigger allowance whilst missing a substantial number of meetings.”

Labour said that Lib Dem councillor Tracy Ismail went to 12 of 20 in 2008.


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