Monday, 13 July 2009

Scrutiny On the Administration: Expenses

Another political squall has broken out over the abuses of expenses - but this time it isn't politicians who are shouldering the blame, it's the bureaucrats.

Figures released show council staff at Reading Borough Council are allowed to claim travel expenses at a rate five-times higher than comparable authorities; whereas in Wokingham essential travel for work is reimbursed at 38.7p per mile, Reading pays £2.10 per mile!

The three represented political parties joined forces to wholeheartedly condemn the outrageous practice (no doubt also tempted to point out the holier-than-thou sanctimony of some critics), while Unison Branch secretary Brendan Carr stoutly attempted to defend the discrepancy by citing the "closely defined local definition of essential car use" as justification.

All of which possibly explains why LibDem parliamentary campaigner Cllr Gareth Epps choose now to describe new research highlighting just how little confidence in our public institutions there is.

And he is apparently reading from exactly the same script as reputed commentator (and Reading expat) Charlie Brooker.

Going into greater detail, the TV presenter and journalist outlines how a succession of scandals have rocked faith in our public institutions - from Parliament and the Police to television and print media to banks and the economy in general.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Thomas points out that nobody is immune from the temptation of cheating when they think they can get away with it.

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