Fringe Box



Tories Counter-punch on County Council Expenses

Published on: 8 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 9 Feb, 2013
SCC sign Surrey County Council

County Hall Kingston

The Conservative group at Surrey County Council (SCC) in Kingston have responded to criticism on the use of Farnham Castle as an ‘awayday’ venue and calls for a ban on overseas trips. The Tories have highlighted expense claims made by Lib Dem Group Leader, Hazel Watson (Dorking Hills) but she says they are not, “comparing like with like”.

Details obtained by the Conservative Group [source SCC Democratic services] show that since Cllr Warson’s re-election in June 2009, she has claimed £3,529.67 for entry to several Local Government conferences, some as far afield as Harrogate, whilst also claiming a further £1,444 in hotel bills and an extra £242.20 on train fares

David Hodge, Leader of the Conservative Group (Con, Warlingham), added: “Mrs Watson seems keen to draw attention to trips made by the administration, whilst completely ignoring all the trips she herself has made – despite being an opposition councillor and having no executive responsibility at Surrey County Council.

This is precisely the kind of hypocrisy which puts people off local politics – Cllr Hodge

“This is precisely the kind of hypocrisy which puts people off local politics. It would surely be better for the Leader of the Opposition to concentrate on providing effective opposition and scrutiny of the administration rather than trying to score political points.”

Cllr Hazel Watson responded: “Mr Hodge attended many of these conferences himself, and he will know they were nearly all national conferences of Local Government bodies. None of them were internal meetings of Surrey County Council, which the Farnham Castle trips by the Conservative Cabinet were. It is not comparing like with like.

Mr Hodge attended many of these conferences himself – Cllr Watson

“The point is that Surrey County Council should not be spending Council Taxpayers money on overnight stays at external venues for its own internal meetings when it has plenty of available facilities of its own that can be used.”

See also: Surrey County Council Scraps Plans For Another ‘Posh’ Farnham Castle Awayday



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