Thursday, 18 February 2010
Corruption within the Labour Ranks
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) describe their Vision as: A world-class, sustainable transport system that acts as a catalyst for an improved quality of life for all.
SPT is a quango which was established by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005, (introduced by the then labour/libdem government), which created Scotland's seven Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs). SPT comprises of 20 councillor members representing the 12 constituent unitary authorities in the West of Scotland and between seven and nine appointed members.
When I visit the west of Scotland I use my own private transport so I have no idea if public transport has improved since the conception of SPT - it may well have done.
However, certainly there have been improvements in the SPT, particularly to councillors' expenses and thus their bank accounts. Two senior officials have been paid almost £30,000 in travel expenses for using their own cars and a FOI enquiry ascertained officials have claimed more than £100,000 in expenses between 2006-2009.
The chairman, Alistair Watson resigned earlier this week, on health grounds, after details of his expenses were revealed. Ron Culley, the Chief Executive, resigned with effect from today. Mr Culley, who is seeking early retirement on the grounds of failing health and a desire to spend more time with his young family, has issued this statement. Vice-chair Davie McLauchlan has also stepped down from his post. Two are labour councillors and Ron Culley is known to have labour connections.
Audit Scotland said it was considering the complaint against SPT and would decide whether to launch an inquiry within 30 days. SPT should be investigated by AS.
Some years ago it was decided councillors should be salaried. The old chestnut of the electorate getting a better quality of councillor was churned out. I certainly haven't seen any difference in the quality of councillors in my area but I am aware many regard their position first and foremost as a job. They don't regard themselves as public servants but public workers.