After it was revealed in a newspaper article that the Environment Minister’s officials have written to Councils concerning the issue of paying Councillors allowances and expenses into Party accounts, UKIP Representative for Upper Bann, Councillor David Jones said:
“There was an issue earlier this year regarding the payment of expenses in Belfast City Council and this particular issue reared its head again in Londonderry when it was revealed that all Sinn Fein Councillors were having their expenses paid into Party accounts. One Sinn Fein Councillor even had his Job Seekers Allowance of £19,000 paid to the Party. The position is quite clear according to DOE: Councils must pay allowances and expenses directly to Councillors.”
Councillor Jones added:
“It is reported that a Spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon council said ‘it is a matter of personal choice’ if Councillors want their allowances paid directly to political parties.
“I am deeply concerned at this reply as it goes contrary to a DOE ruling and the Internal Auditors advice. As a result, I have today issued a Freedom of Information request with the Council to determine if any Councillors in the ABC Council are having monies paid to their Parties. I will await the response with interest.”