MP calls for inquiry into Tory secret pay scandal

 In Croydon, News

Croydon North MP Steve Reed has called for a full inquiry into the secret pay scandal that has rocked Croydon’s Conservatives.  Croydon’s Tory leader, Cllr Mike Fisher, secretly claimed £10,000 in additional allowances while he was still leader of the council ahead of his party’s defeat in May.

Mr Reed has accused the Conservatives of deliberately misleading the public over allowances by claiming in public they wouldn’t accept increases but setting up an arrangement that allowed them to take the money in private.  Cllr Fisher demanded the extra money, equivalent to an 18% pay rise, after hiking up council tax and restricting council employees to a 1% pay rise claiming the council was short of funds.

Steve Reed MP has called on the Council to establish an independent inquiry to investigate any potential abuse of power by the Conservatives.  He said: “At a time when workers’ pay is being held down and public services are being cut, the notion that Tory councillors can help themselves to thousands of pounds of public money in secret is abhorrent.

We need a full investigation to expose how this happened, who else was involved, and how to stop it happening again in future.”  Mr Reed repeated his demand for Cllr Fisher to stand down pending the outcome of an inquiry and has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to suspend him if he won’t go.

Here are the questions the inquiry needs to answer:

  1. How was the former Leader of the Council able to claim £10,000 additional allowances without declaring it publicly at the time?
  2. Was political pressure put on Council officers to ensure they went along with this?
  3. Who else knew this payment was being made, and was there collusion to prevent the public from finding out?
  4. Was the phrasing used in the council’s allowances scheme deliberately intended to allow councillors to take additional allowances in secret after making public declarations implying they would not?
  5. Have any councillors other than Councillor Fisher benefited from similar arrangements or attempted to benefit from them, and if so who?
  6. Have there been any other actual or attempted claims for additional payments by councillors, either as increased allowances, back payments of allowances, or loans, and if so by whom?
  7. Did the Council’s arrangements breach the Nolan Principles on standards in public life, in particular the requirement for openness and transparency?
  8. Did the Council’s arrangements break the legal requirements governing the public declaration of payment to councillors