Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leeds Council Spend £10k on "Hand Massages" For Councillor

This comes under the category 'you couldn't make it up'. Leeds Tory councillor Alan Lamb, Shadow Executive member for Children’s Services, has discovered that the new Labour/Green administration in Leeds is planning to spend nearly £10,000 on ‘learning days’ for councillors throughout 20010/11.

The learning days will involve councillors gaining free access to a host of questionable activities such as hand and shoulder massages, advice about managing stress, a session on how councillors can learn to tweet and also further advice sessions on how to take up exercise classes and manage blood pressure.

Lamb said: “Given the financial difficulties being faced by families living both in Leeds and nationally I was utterly stunned when I saw that the new administration planned to waste nearly £10,000 to run 4 of these so called councillor’s learning days throughout 2010/11. There is nothing wrong with councillors receiving relevant training to perform their role but getting free massages and guidance on how to manage your blood pressure is simply unacceptable – I know that my blood pressure rose when I saw this scheme and could hardly believe it when I saw that the new Executive Member for Learning, Cllr Jane Dowson, had signed a letter encouraging councillors to attend the event.

Quite unbelievable. Yet another example of ridiculous expenditure in local government.

No doubt readers have further examples.


startledcod said...

Lose this and it would be a 'savage cut to a frontline service'.

The local newspaper should take this up and hound them all. The new Executive Member for Learning, Cllr Jane Dowson, should consider resigning as she is patently unfit to be anywhere near taxpayers's money.

Councillors do not need to know how to use Twitter, it is irrelevant to their duties. Anything else on the list they can find out online at their leisure.

I pay tax. Leeds Council gets the majority of its funds from central coffers. I do not want my money being spent on this.

Bill Quango MP said...

Seems the way to lower the blood pressure of the people of Leeds is to cancel the event.

Demetrius said...

Were these massages, I wonder, done by ladies who had been trafficked illegally for certain purposes? If so how would they be categorised in the Council annual accounts?

John Holmes said...

So Leeds Council actually isn't spending £10k on "Hand Massages for Councillor.

It's spending £10k on a range of training services for several councillors.

Apparently, you could make it up.

Congratulations, you have graduated from the Littlejohn school of journalism.

Gavin Gamble said...

Labour still pursuing usual tactics then. Spend Spend Spend.

Chris Lovell said...

Absolutely disgusting!

Labour at its worst.

Cogito Dexter said...

Is it law yet that councils should have to publicise every item of expenditure they make?

Gallimaufry said...

I reckon Eric Pickles is the best minister in the Coalition Cabinet so every time I see him on television I wish he would attend a health awareness course like those mentioned in your post and lose a couple of pounds. He's too good to lose even temporarily to heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke. Sometimes Nanny knows best.

Roger Thornhill said...

If a Councillor has to be FORMALLY taught how to tweet, I suggest they are unfit for office.

thespecialone said...

That's socialism for you. I hope that the local press pick up on this and go to town on the council for wasting taxpayers' cash.

Libertarian said...

@john holmes

so you are saying that you think this spending is acceptable?

JB said...

just heard you make the incredible claim that "isas are an example of tax avoidance " - this stupid claim raises all sorts of doubts about the quality of your comments.
In your attempts to defend the Tory (sorry , coalition) government you put a measure to encourage savings initiated by the Government in the same category as a sleazy tax dodge by the latest advisor.
Think and reflect and I'm sure many other reasons will come to mind about why your comment is stupid.

Cllr Peter cairns (SNP) said...

With Leeds Council having 99 members and the £10k paying for several days then if each member only gos to one day then its £100 a head.

I know what someone off with stress costs the tax payer and for most people its probably costs close to £100 a day ( although that halves if they are off more than 6 monthes.... at £100 a day).

If of course the individaul decide to take out a grievence claiming he wasn't protected or supported by a the council there employer even an fairly basis internal procedure and appeal will swallow a bit chunk of £10k.

Before you can really make any kind of reasoned judgement on this you really need to know how many people are going and what kind of package they will get including all the training and support on offer.

Without that and particularly when all you get in the full cost and a few cherry picked items all this story amounts to is tabliod rant.


Dick the Prick said...

Dear Iain

Cheers, bud. OOh, got a Cllr on yer ass!!


John Holmes said...

@ Libertarian

I'm saying that Iain is distorting, exaggerating and misrepresenting a story for his own political ends and wondering whether he has any shame about doing so.

Note Cllr. Peter Cairns comment, £100 a head on personal skills training doesn't seem unreasonable to me - especially when the nature of that training has first been filtered through a Tory councillor and a Tory blogger who has fairly blatantly massaged the facts for a good headline.