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Readers may have stumbled upon an article on the Scarborough Evening News web-site (Tuesday 17th April 2012), entitled “Residents hit with local tax hike of 111%” (click to view).
The main thrust of the article is that this year’s SBC Council Tax bill has seen Eastfield Parish Council increase its precept from £32,120 to £68,168 in one move. This 111 per cent increase compares to an average Parish Council tax increase of only 5.5 per cent.
The Scarborough Evening News reports, “As a result of the rise residents will this month have to start paying an extra £2 each month for a Band D property.”
Towards the end of the article, Cllr Brian Simpson is quoted as claiming: “Once I have explained how the money is being spent to people they have been quite happy with it.”
This opinion is not reflected in the ‘Comments’ section of the article, where the first nine entries dedicate themselves to challenging Cllr Brian Simpson in the most strenuous terms.
But my interest was fully aroused when I noticed that Cllr Brian Simpson, in ‘Comment #10’, had joined the debate to defend his position.
This is all as it should be. In fact, thus far I could only applaud Cllr Brian Simpson for engaging with the electorate, in the public domain, in an attempt to explain his Council’s decision.
Unfortunately, in ‘Comment #12’, I soon discovered that Cllr Brian Simpson had strayed into the shadowy area of ‘misinformation’.
His statement “I do NOT get anything from NYCC for internet” is totally disingenuous.
In plain language, the basic Allowance includes money for Broadband.
‘Comment #14’ challenges Cllr Brian Simpson on this point, and another point, and Councillor Simpson’s response, in ‘Comment #15’, skips over the Broadband allowance altogether – and starts to exhibit some aggressive/defensive irritation.
By ‘Comment #17’, Cllr Simpson is clearly losing his temper:
“For the last time I only get the basic allowence[sic] for NYCC!! Come and have a look at my pay slips if you do not believe me and you will see that there are no extra payments!!”
Well, we have looked at your ‘pay slips’, Brian, and it seems that you have not availed yourself of the opportunity to “renunciate all or a part” of your NYCC Basic Allowance (as the Rules allow) – therefore you have accepted money from NYCC for your Broadband connection. In my view, have told the Scarborough Evening News readership a huge whopper!
And you have omitted to mention that you have also accepted £255 per annum Broadband Allowance from SBC. That is called ‘double-dipping’, and I believe that claiming the same expenses twice is commonly known as ‘fraud’ – correct me if I am wrong.
But, as Bob Dylan avers, “The best is always yet to come”.
By ‘Comment #25’, Councillor Simpson seems to have lost all sense of propriety. Addressing another contributor, posting as ‘krissy60’, he proceeds to disclose that contributor’s real-life name and identity, thus breaching the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, which require that the individual who the sensitive personal data is actually about must give explicit consent to a member of an authority to the process of revealing his/her personal data. I would doubt that ‘krissy60’ gave his/her consent to Councillor Simpson – correct me if I am wrong.
By ‘Comment #25’, Councillor Simpson is in full rant, casting pejorative aspersions of the cheapest kind on his co-contributor: “Kristina I am not concerned that you do not believe me and I should have guessed that you are a Miss”. What were you implying, Councillor Simpson? Is this an example of the RESPECT that ALL elected members MUST evince to EVERYBODY, under the terms of the SBC Councillors’ Code of Conduct? As ‘Comment #47’ (SirChasm) puts it, “It was the defamation of character, suggesting that krissy was so awful that no-one would marry her. That was nasty and uncalled for.”
My impression is that this is the conduct of a sexist, bullying ‘double-dipper’, playing fast and loose with various clearly-defined regulations with which he MUST (and has a duty to) be familiar. In any case, ignorance offers no defence under the law.
Councillor Brian Simpson (LibDem) is an elected representative of the public of some considerable experience. He has been playing the local politics game at all three levels for some years now.
Currently, he occupies the following positions:
Would you be prepared to agree on the fact that Brian has been around long enough to know the ropes of the local government game by now? Me Too!
It is a game that has been played long enough in these parts without due regard for the regulations – and Councillor Simpson, remember, is himself a member of the SBC Standards Committee.
What an example! Standards? What standards?
Hypocrisies such as this never fail to tickle me . . .
“Don’t we have fun every minute
Oh, what a gay life we lead
One chocolate milkshake with two straws stuck in it
What else does anyone need?
[Randy Newman – ‘Live’ – 1970]