The behaviour of some MPs over their expenses has
unfortunately cast a shadow over all politicians.
Just like you, I'm fed up with the way in which people from all
parties have manipulated the system to enhance their own personal
lifestyles at the expense of taxpayers.
MPs have totally misjudged what is acceptable and appropriate.
Ordinary people have little time for others who are perceived as
getting a free lunch.
Where irresponsibility and greed practised by a privileged few
occurs it is insulting to families who have never benefited from
massive bonuses and perks, but will suffer lower incomes and
unemployment as a result of the current economic crash.
However, you should not let this undermine the credibility of
your local councillors who are working hard to bring you the
services you expect and deserve.
We are working hard to help you though the recession. My very
first pledge when I was elected in 2002 was to spend your money
wisely, and that remains a priority. Just a few months ago in
February, I announced a recession package that included a freeze on
Council Tax to ease the burden on families.
I continue to be committed to making savings so that residents
get the absolute most from the money they pay into the council. I
try hard to make sure that every single penny is spent with due
care and caution.
We are totally open and transparent with regard to the expenses
that we claim for. Our expenses are published annually, and you can
view them by following the link from the home page of our website:
Councillors are paid for doing their jobs. And those councillors
who take on increased responsibilities are paid for doing this
larger job (known as the Special Responsibility Allowance). We are
absolutely clear about this too; the allowance scheme has been in
the public domain for eight years and can be found on the website
at the same address. All allowances are also published in this
magazine annually, which goes to every Newham household.
The context has changed for us as a borough. Whatever type of
economy or society that emerges from the economic downturn needs to
be one modelled on values that we in Newham have championed for
years: fairness, hard work, inclusiveness and opportunity for
These are values that are fair to everyone, and I remain
confident that we can build in Newham a place where people are
prosperous, can look after themselves and get on well together.