AT a time when people face the fear of redundancy, political leaders have to be cautious and sensitive in their expenses claims.
The MPs expenses scandal tainted Parliament and tarnished reputations but highlighted a culture of unnecessary claims.
Now, details of Kirklees councillors’ expenses have been revealed.
And they’re definitely not on a par with their colleagues in Parliament – no duck houses or pornography claims here.
But it’s revealed that the taxpayer has been picking up the bill for councillors’ away days, travel to and from political conferences and rugby games.
Of course, the rules state they can do so legitimately.
But just because the rules mean it can happen, doesn’t mean it should happen.
One councillor, Andrew Cooper of the Green Party, says the rules should be changed, but he still put a claim in for 50% of what he was entitled to.
He’s called for changes and even if it’s only to save a few thousand pounds then why not?
In light of the public spending squeeze, maybe the political parties, and not the taxpayer, should pick up the tab for members to travel to party conferences.
And why not use a free council room to talk about ways of reducing budgets instead of having an away day in a venue with a room hire?
Making such savings won’t turn the tide of public spending cuts, but it may just help send a signal out that we really are all in it together.