Saturday, 25 April 2015

Sefton’s £4,500 a year “pay for no work” deal with Labour's Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson comes under attack


 The deal in which Liverpool Labour boss Joe Anderson was paid £4,500 a year by a Sefton school for doing no work came under attack from Lib Dem councillors at Thursday’s meeting of Sefton Council.

When the school, Chesterfield High School in Crosby, ended the arrangement, Mayor Joe Anderson took the case to an Employment Tribunal.  When he lost there he appealed and lost again, with the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal being widely reported last week:



At the Council meeting in Southport Town Hall, Birkdale Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw led calls for an Inquiry into ‘all aspects of Sefton Council’s involvement in this matter’.  However Bootle Labour council leader Peter Dowd turned down the request in what is expected to be his final appearance before being elected MP for Bootle in two week’s time.

In calling for the Inquiry Cllr Shaw quoted directly from the words of Judge Serota who blasted the deal in his written Appeal judgement.

“When you have a judge saying that Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson was ‘party to a misuse of public funds’ and that ‘this arrangement may strike members of the public as constituting a misapplication of public monies’ then it seems to me that there needs be a thorough Inquiry into Sefton Council's involvement in this matter,” said Cllr Shaw.

“For Sefton Council’s Labour leader to pass the buck by saying that ‘the matters as affecting Sefton Council were dealt with in accordance with the appropriate legislation by officers’ is simply unacceptable.”

Lib Dem councillors Iain Brodie Browne and Haydn Preece also asked questions about the deal which the judge had condemned as ‘a reverse form of a zero hours contract, whereby the school was bound to make payment of salary but the Claimant (Mayor Anderson) was not bound to provide any services.’  However they also received dismissive replies from Councillor Dowd.

 

Details of the questions and answers given at the Sefton Council meeting are available at: http://modgov.sefton.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/b20999/Supplementary%20Agenda%2023rd-Apr-2015%2018.30%20Council.pdf?T=9

The full judgement from the Employment Appeals Tribunal is available at: http://www.employmentcasesupdate.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed26506

Good to welcome John Pigott to the Southport campaign trail

In a General Election it always good to welcome outside helpers. Last night I had the pleasure of being out in the rain with a team led by Stephen Hesketh when along came John Pigott, past Chair of ALC, to add to our numbers.

All political parties target seats nowadays. The Labour Party are sending out emails directing Southport supporters to go to their 'local battle ground' Ribble South, one of their top 100 target seats.

From their point of view that makes sense. The bookies make Labour 100 to 1 outsiders in Southport and the Ashcroft poll puts them in a humiliating fourth place.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Sefton Labour Leader blocksLib Dem bid for Inquiry into Sefton's conduct over Mayor Anderson

 Question submitted by Councillor Shaw to the Leader of the Council (Councillor P Dowd)

As the Leader is no doubt aware, judgement was handed down last week by the Employment Appeals Tribunal in the case of Mayor Joe Anderson v Chesterfield High School.  Chesterfield High School was, until recently, a school maintained by Sefton Council.

In view of the serious public disquiet over this issue, and having regard to Judge Serota's judgement at the EAT that the Claimant (Mayor Joe Anderson) was "party to a misuse of public funds" and that "this arrangement may strike members of the public as constituting a misapplication of public monies", would the Leader of the Council agree that an Inquiry should be conducted into all aspects of Sefton Council's involvement in this matter?”
Response: The matters as affecting Sefton Council were dealt with in accordance with the appropriate legislation by officers.

Labour Leader questioned about Sefton Council's financial arrangements with Labour Mayor Anderson

Some people wonder why Radicals, progressives and those whose politics are generally considered as being on the Left want nothing to do with the Labour Party. The events surrounding  Labour Mayor Joe Anderson receiving what the judge at an Industrial Tribunal described as 'a reverse form of zero hours contract, whereby the Respondent was bound to make to make payment of salary but the Claimant (Labour Mayor Joe Anderson) was not bound to provide any services.
 
The disgraceful saga that saw Liverpool Labour Mayor -who worked in a Sefton MBC school - take his employers to an Industrial Tribunal  came up at last night's Sefton Council meeting. The response of the Labour Leadership I have copied below. The tribal loyalty, the sense of the entitlement and the contempt for accountability are the hallmarks for a certain sort of Labour politicians. They sound like the MP's who kept repeating that their expenses claims were within the rules and applied no common sense or moral code. The deal done by Sefton was effectively done in secret. I can find no record of it being reported to the Council or open to scrutiny. When I asked in a written question which elected councillors knew about the deal there was no answer! This process began before the school was an academy .

The Judge at the Tribunal concluded :

It seems to me as though the Claimant (Labour Mayor Joe Anderson) has simply not given sufficient attention as to how the arrangement he made with Sefton and so continued with the Respondent might look to outsiders. The Claimant was entitled to receive almost £80,000 per annum from Liverpool for his role as elected Mayor, yet also procured a payment (£4,500 plus pension) from public funds for which he provided, and was not expected to provide, any service. It was, more likely, considered to be a reverse form for a zero hours contract, whereby the Respondent was bound to make payment of salary but the Claimant was not bound to provide any services. It is certainly fairly arguable that this arrangement may strike members of the public as constituting a misapplication of public monies. I asked Mr Morgan (Anderson's lawyer) on several occasions what benefits there might be that accrued to the Respondent for the payments and for preserving the Claimant's post for an indeterminate period. The only answer that I received was that it gave "kudos" to the school to be associated with the Mayor of Liverpool. The full report can be found here
 
QUESTIONS RAISED BY MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL

1. Question submitted by Councillor Brodie-Browne to the Leader of the Council (Councillor P Dowd)
“(a) Will the Leader inform the Council who it was who authorised/signed off the deal between Sefton MBC and Liverpool Elected Mayor Joe Anderson in respect of his pay and pension as notional 'Mentor' at Chesterfield High School and also inform the Council which Sefton MBC elected councillors were informed of this arrangement both before or after the deal?

Response:

There was no arrangement between Sefton MBC and Mayor Joe Anderson. Chesterfield High School was an academy and therefore any arrangement was agreed by the school.

(b) What has the Leader done to have this money repaid to the Council for what the Judge in a recent Appeal Tribunal described as a "reverse zero hours contract"

Response:

The Council did not fund the arrangement with Mayor Anderson and therefore there is no money to be repaid

(c) What was the total cost to Sefton MBC of this deal, including pension?”

Response:

There was no cost to Sefton MBC of the school’s arrangement with Mayor Anderson



Is Cllr Dowd dancing on a pin here? Clearly Anderson was paid £4,500 a year plus pension  for doing nothing. Certainly during this period the school became an Academy and was forced to make redundancies but someone funded the agreement that Sefton made-an agreement that was for an indefinite period. Para 22 of the Industrial Tribunal report clearly states: Sefton had agreed to fund some of the cost from the supply teacher budget and again at para 19..... Sefton  is currently covering the cost of the (Joe Anderson) secondment .

You may consider that these replies are  not open and transparent.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Pugh backs plan for Public Sector Pay rises



 

John Pugh, having helped scupper Tory plans to introduce lower pay in the NW, backs a plan to ensure public sector pay rises. ‘This is the minimum that is acceptable’ Pugh told Southport electors.

 

Workers across the public sector have made enough sacrifices. You have done your bit to help get the country back on track.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats believe it is time to end the era of pay restraint.

Under our plans, we will give all public sector workers – from teachers and nurses to social workers and police officers – pay rises that at least keep pace with the cost of living every year.

No more pay freezes or below inflation pay rises. We can do this because with the Liberal Democrats, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For two years pay in the public sector will, at the very least, keep pace with prices. After that, we will make sure it rises above inflation – giving millions of workers a real terms pay rise for the first time in years.

If you are a public sector worker worried Tory cuts threaten your job, or Labour’s refusal to deal with the deficit means another year of pay cuts, then only a vote for the Lib Dems will guarantee you a fair pay deal.

Where the Tories’ first priority is to give the rich a massive tax cut, the Liberal Democrats want to see the people who deliver our public services rewarded after five years of austerity.

 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Pugh on the Tories Regional pay plot

Pugh Warns Tory Regional Pay Plot Will Hit North West Teachers and Nurses



John Pugh, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Southport, warns teachers and nurses in the North West will be paid nearly £1,200-a-year less under Conservatives plans to introduce local public sector pay rates if governing alone.
John Pugh led the Lib Dems in blocking Conservative attempts to smash uniform national pay rates for state workers – and would do it again.
 
Dozens of Conservative MPs and candidates want salaries of public sectors workers in the North West cut in a bid to make them fall in line with local private sector pay.
 
Pugh, who is defending the seat of Southport, strongly believes that there is no way teachers in the North West are worth less than teachers in other areas of the country. Public sector workers deliver top class services in the North West and do not deserve to be paid less just because they live here.
 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Pugh adoption meeting video



Photography by Fred Weavers

I wrote recently about John Pugh's adoption meeting. Well now I can bring you the video highlights courtesy of Pughtube

In these extract John talks aabout what Lib Dems stand for, the alternatives and drawing on an old Liberal Party poster that is stuck up on his office wall he outlined the Liberal way

More information can be found on the Pugh4Southport website

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Pugh's five Green promises

John Pugh speaking at his adoption meeting this evening
Southport's John Pugh has backed the Lib Dem plan for five new Green Laws.

The five green laws are:
  1. A Nature Bill: key measures include legal targets for biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space, extending the Right to Roam and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.
  2. A Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill: key measures include building on the Green Deal with a national programme to raise the energy efficiency standards for all Britain’s households.  We will legislate to boost renewable and district heating programmes and heat saving standards.
  3. A Zero Waste Britain Bill: key measures include establishing a “Stern Report” on resource use, with binding targets and a clear action plan to reduce waste and end biodegradable landfill.
  4. A Zero Carbon Britain Bill: key measures include introducing a decarbonisation target for electricity generation, expanding the powers of the Green Investment Bank and banning electricity generated from unabated coal.
  5. A Green Transport Bill: key measures include establishing a full network of charging points for electric cars, only allowing low emission vehicles on the roads from 2040 and reforming planning law to ensure new developments are designed around walking, cycling and public transport.