Peterborough councillors ‘abusing parking allowance to do shopping’
Some Peterborough city councillors are using their parking allowance to park for free when they are not on council business, it has been claimed.
Labour councillor Ed Murphy (Ravensthorpe) has alleged that “some councillors” are using their free parking allowance in the car park next to the Town Hall when they are shopping.
Speaking at the meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday, Cllr Murphy said: “Councillors are given an allowance to park for free at that car park when on council duty.
“But some councillors – and I shall not say who – are abusing that perk and parking there for free when they are not on council business but out shopping instead. This is an abuse of a privilege; it’s a point of honesty that they should be paying to park there if they’re not strictly on council business.”
His comments came during a lengthy debate over the budget which proposed the current allowance of £44 per councillor per year be retained.
Cllr Murphy added: “The Tory leaders of the council are quite happy to cut £516,000 from youth services and cut back on funding to vital things like the Citizens Advice Bureau, but they want to keep their precious parking allowance that simply adds another £4,000 to the annual budget.
“Now we know why they’re so keen to keep it don’t we? They’re parking there to do their shopping when they should be paying.”
Cllr Nick Sandford (Lib Dem) whose proposal to withdraw the allowance was heavily defeated, said: “This is an unnecessary perk and councillors should travel to meetings by cycle, walking or on the bus as Cllr Hemraj, Cllr Fower, Cllr Day, Cllr Howell and I do.”
However, council deputy leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald (Conservative) disagreed, and said: “This is complete codswallop – Cllr Murphy makes accusations but will not, or cannot, say who is doing this. The reason we have these allowances for parking in the first place is because councillors requested them, and this was the simplest and easiest way of accounting for who did what, and how people travelled to and from meetings.
“The only reason Cllr Sandford is now against these perks has nothing to do with an abuse of privilege, but simply because he doesn’t know how to drive a car!”
The parking allowance for councillors was retained when the budget proposal was passed.
Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service