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UKIP call for Lichfield District Council to scrap civic budget completely

UKIP have called for Lichfield District Council’s entire civic budget to be scrapped.

The local authority’s bill for its civic functions is more than £50,000 per year.

A Jaguar XF similar to the model currently used by Lichfield District Council's chairman

A Jaguar XF similar to the model currently used by Lichfield District Council’s chairman

The issue of the money has become a hot topic since discussion began over £16,000 due to be spent on a chauffeur-driven car for the council’s chairman.

But a spokesman for the UKIP branch in Lichfield and Burntwood has branded the costs “a waste of money”.

The party has also accused the Conservative councillor for Little Aston and Stonnall, Joseph Powell, of trying to shut down a public debate on the issue.

Cllr Powell defended the luxury Jaguar at a recent meeting by saying: “It’s important that we make it clear that the car isn’t used for just having drinks or nice meals.

“We use it for lots of very useful meetings with the council, such as visiting homosexual groups.”

But UKIP’s spokesman believes Cllr Powell was attempting to shame any opposition into silence.

“Cllr Powell has, in our opinion, deliberately tried to shut down a public debate about the £16,000 of taxpayers’ money that is spent on the chairman’s car.

“By using the word ‘homosexuals’ Cllr Powell has tried to silence anyone who dares to oppose the use of a taxpayer-funded car at a time of austerity.

“He seems to have given no thought as to what the people of Lichfield and Burntwood think about this issue. He needs to remember that this matter affects hard-working taxpayers across our district.

“Lichfield District Council has disregarded the elderly, unless of course you are an old-aged local politician who is in need of transport.”

Cllr Joseph Powell

Cllr Joseph Powell

But Cllr Powell hit back at UKIP’s accusations – and he rejected their call for the civic budget to be scrapped.

He said: “I made those comments merely because I wanted to publicise what the council does and to tackle the negative public perception of the chairman’s car and civic budget.

“We support homosexual groups, but we have also been to the National Memorial Arboretum and we’ve been to Toyota’s factory in Derby etc in order to promote the city of Lichfield.

“It’s utter rubbish to suggest the civic budget is just about food and drink or the chairman flashing their chain.

“Lichfield as a city has one of the biggest district councils in the country and the civic budget actually does a lot of good. The budget may be £50,000, but it’s a rarity that we actually spend that much during the financial year.

“I would encourage UKIP to actually attend one of our meetings. If they had bothered to read the minutes from the last meeting they would know we’ve formed a sub-committee to look at the whole issue. I won’t be making any further comment until the committee has reached its conclusions.”

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9 Comments

  1. Darryl

    19th June, 2015 at 8:17 am

    “I won’t be making any further comment unless it’s an opportunity to sound even more out of touch”

    Well done Mr Powell, you’ve made me agree with UKIP.

  2. Attila the Nun

    19th June, 2015 at 8:47 am

    “We use it for lots of very useful meetings with the council, such as visiting homosexual groups.”

    There it is again! This has got to be my favourite quote of the entire year.

  3. Andy Bennetts

    19th June, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I’ve got to get 650 t-shirts to Gay’s the Word bookshop in London next week in time for Pride.

    Joe can take em down in the Jag for me

  4. Darryl

    19th June, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    I love it too @Attila

    “those homosexuals,” you can almost hear the syllables as he enunciates it, “just won’t stand for us turning up in anything else, you know how they like to look after their appearance etc. etc.”

  5. Sue woodward

    19th June, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I wonder if Joe Powell has ever heard the saying, “if you’re in a hole, stop digging”.

    As for UKIP, I’ve yet to see either of their local cllrs yet to put forward a point of view for debate themselves. They vote with the Tories at County. Council…….now they seem to be jumping on a bandwagon. Let’s see if they actually DO anything.

  6. Jack Andrea

    19th June, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Why does Cllr Powell place emphasis on ‘homosexual groups’ (whatever that means). Who really labels the gay community ‘homosexual groups’ nowadays?

  7. Rob

    20th June, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I can remember when gay used to mean cheerful and pleasant.

  8. Steven Norman

    20th June, 2015 at 11:47 am

    This is the second time our much loved (some might say essential) Lichfield Live has publicised an anonymous “spokesman” from the local UKIP party on local government matters.
    In the case of this one http://tiny.cc/iv3lzx on the proposed Combined Authority neither elected UKIP member is asked for a view – or do they have to follow what their Party says contrary to their manifesto?
    I’m still waiting for UKIP’s sole representative at the County to defend himself here http://tiny.cc/313lzx but he is still silent.
    As regards the District Council civic budget which Labour councillors spoke up about and persuaded other members to agree for this to be included in the review originally planned to consider the civic car only (a success for good scrutiny – which is not whipped) what must we think?
    That UKIP councillor, John Mills, does not have a view (in which case why did he stand for election)?
    Does he not want to say anything that might be different from his anonymous party spokesperson (see above)?
    That only UKIP’s anonymous spokesperson is allowed to talk to journalists?
    Let’s hear from the elected members.

  9. Steve Norman

    24th June, 2015 at 9:51 am

    No clarification yet from UKIP?