JONES: Expenses and the Stormont Gravy Train

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Councillor David Jones
UKIP Representative in Upper Bann
UKIP Councillor on ABC Council

“We’ve heard of the EU or Brussels gravy train. Now it seems some of the local Parties at Stormont are not beyond dipping their bread in the gravy aswell.

Recently details came out of the excess of costs and Special Advisers it takes to run the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister. Numerous small independent nations are governed on less.

Fast-forward to early last week when we had the disclosure by the BBC Spotlight TV programme detailing the self-serving reality of the Stormont bubble. We already know about the MLAs who employ multiple family members on inflated salaries, but we are now learning more about the huge amount of expenses claimed for the running of offices. Bogus landlords, offices big enough to house the entire Party and costs claimed far and above the costs incurred. Those mentioned in the programme claim that they have broken no rules. That maybe so, but they have totally betrayed the trust of the electorate who would believe whilst realistic costs are justified, excess claims or misusing the system to use public money for other purposes is not.

This sort of self-serving behaviour from the very politicians who the public put their faith in is beyond contempt.

Time for an Inquiry? Probably. Some may have gained financially, but have failed on the fundamental principles of public service; transparency and trust. It is a pity that our elected representatives could not handle the budget as well as they can handle their own finances. These disclosures must make front line staff in the NHS feel aggrieved. Those waiting for hospital appointments or admissions for months must feel utterly betrayed. The elderly and vulnerable who had Home Care reduced must be outraged.

There are to be more revelations on next weeks Spotlight. We will await those with interest. There can be little doubt that the five party executive led Stormont is not fit for purpose. More importantly can we trust those who seek to dismiss these allegations on expenditure? Simply put, would you buy a second hard car from them?”

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