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Bonkers Blog December 2013

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13 December (Part 1) - The money goes round and around and ends up in councillors’ pockets

It was remiss of me to not bother looking up how big the Mayor’s allowance is yesterday but now I have, and it is even more than I would have guessed.

Alan DowningLast year Alan Downing was paid £14,754 on top of his £10,529 councillor allowance and his wife got another £18,220. Not a bad little bonus for a couple living on a generous police pension.

The residents of Bexley are the worst paid in London but they were expected to contribute the average borough income to a man whose job involved little but being ferried around in a limousine to where the wine flowed freely. And then insulting local dignitaries but maybe I shouldn’t say any more about that.

The current Mayor Sharon Massey has not so far jabbed any resident in the eye or written to them to complain their clapping wasn’t loud enough but is the subject of a serious complaint which I’ve not yet reported here because of its complexity. Nevertheless it is not hard to admit that the present mayor has shown a very different and welcome public face from her predecessors.

Sharon sought publicity in the Bexley Times last week referring to the £15,000 she had raised for charity this year. “The money raised will be used to provide respite care for carers in Bexley and to support children with type one diabetes.” All good stuff I am sure and probably very necessary. A couple of weeks ago I heard from a carer being given respite care in Bexley who was concerned to have had a phone call to say it had been withdrawn - in a case which could hardly be more traumatic, time consuming and life threatening. Perhaps Sharon’s charity will go a little way to reverse the cuts being imposed by her own council.

The £15,000 mayor Sharon Massey has raised for charity is neatly matched by almost exactly the same sum she pockets from public funds. The charitable activities look good but when will she write to the newspapers extolling the virtues respite being withdrawn from someone 100% tied down by caring responsibilities. The mayoral allowance would, at the rate Bexley pays care workers, see about 40 borough carers retain their monthly respite allowance.

Note: The mayor’s own family sadly suffers from diabetes, hence it being one of her chosen charities. Both Masseys take round £45,000 from public funds. Quite modest compared to the chief troughers. Cheryl and Gareth Bacon. N.B. In spite of appearances, it is not actually an electoral requirement for councillors to come in pairs, but in Bexley it is almost the norm.
Carers respite care: Bexley council has been providing five hours a month of cover to allow the carer to get out of the house. Now under threat.


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