Thursday, 17 July 2008

Brian Coleman's taxi bill leads to expenses review

A City Hall audit panel called for an urgent review of Assembly members expenses today, after it was revealed that one member had spent over £18,000 of public money on taxi fares in two years.

Conservative Assembly Member and recently appointed chair of LFEPA Brian Coleman, was heavily criticised last year for spending in excess of £10,000 on taxis. 

However, even after this warning, he has continued to waste huge amounts, leading to a situation where his taxi bill for the past year is almost half of the total for all assembly members.

No member of the audit panel was willing to mention Coleman by name, but Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said that the sums spent by "one or two members" were "quite staggering." She told the panel:

"I can see why it is sometimes appropriate to take a taxi but I cannot see how some members claim thousands of pounds of what is public money while others manage to claim nothing."

As well as claiming £8231 for taxis for 2007/8, Coleman also claimed the maximum £1720 for the use of a travelcard, bringing the total cost of shunting him around London to almost £10,000 for the year.

The panel expressed dismay that the situation had been allowed to continue for so long after being so publicly highlighted.

It was agreed that an urgent review should be undertaken into the ways in which assembly member's expenses are monitored and approved. No official statement has yet been made.


angelneptunestar said...

Wasting all that money on taxis is not good, and it also leads to the person getting fat and lazy, get a bike.


Will one of you brainy lefty bods. explain something to me that Tim Parker said?

When interviewed on the Politics Show, he said that apart from getting rid of people from a business, a better way of saving money was through "procurement".


I have tried to check it on the internet and I am none the wiser, so if anyone knows what he was talking about, can they kindly explain? We need to know!

Anonymous said...

So assembly members are in charge of scrutinising their own expenditure and they won't even dare to mention the people who abuse it by name.

Hmm I wonder why Brian Coleman has got away with it for so long.

ch paul said...

The problem is that they don't have any real powers or even much to do so it tis the ideal position for somebody who wants all of the cachet without any of the responsibility.

From working there you can see that there are some decent people in there in all the parties. Pidgeon for one seems very promising, but there are also some real freeloaders. What is the point of Richard Tracey for instance?

barry rochford said...

Mr Coleman is clearly a very busy man about town. Assuming his GLA work amounts to 200 days per year - although judging by the rare attendance of mnay members that's a generous estimate, he must have claimed £40 per day.
Then just to make sure we were getting value for the £1720 travel card he was getting the best from TfL in between.
This man also had the cheek to ask for written account of the GLA travel expenditure of employees carrying out legitimate work. We know where they went to. Where did Mr Coleman's taxis go to, or maybe we shouldn't know?

Anonymous said...

Glad he took full advantyage of Mr Livingstone's safe travel advice.

chris said...

The man is a total arse.

I have nothing more to say

Bobbin said...

There's a report coming up on this on BBC London now. Come on Coleman, weasel your way out of this one.

Bobbin said...

BBC report: "Deputy Chair of the London Assembly Brian Coleman..."

They're up to date aren't they?

eric ray said...

Who says these Tories know anything about good business sense? for the money Brian Coleman claimed on his fares and travelcard, he could have bought a London taxi second hand and probably have off-set it against tax and saved money from the public purse.
If he'd then have been really enterprising, he could ahve hired out the cab while he was hard at work at City Hall. They don't think do they? £10,000 per year travel expenses - not much forensic there, then.

Helen said...

Maybe Coleman should suggest to Boris that the official limousine of Tory GLC Leader, Horace Cutler, is reinstated.

votedforken said...

The great pity in all this is that Ken Livingstone when he was mayor consistently raised the issue of Coleman's cab bills and the Assembly took no action. Coleman gave has his excuse that as Chair he needed to carry around the GLC 'bling' but of course it was his decision to introduce this piece of municipal aggrandisement to the functional role of Assembly Chair, no one else's. The chickens are coming home to roost - but several years too late.

As with the abolition of the deal to pay for half price fares for people on income support, the caving in to porsche and the cutting off of extra revenue from the CO2 charge it's the Tories that are showing a disregard for value for money, not the outgoing mayor.