Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 7, 2017

Objections To Council Gravy Trains?

LCC Cllr Paul Greenall is being lauded for his stance against councillors’ expenses and allowances, even to the extent that he reports “A man has just knocked on my door to shake my hand about standing up for what I believe in last week, and he’s not even a constituent…he said he’d vote for me as an Independent! #Food4Thought!” although the hand shaker might not be so agreeable if he was reminded that in April 2013 WLBC Cllr Paul Greenall and his party voted down a Labour Party Motion “That West Lancashire Borough Council ceases with immediate effect the hospitality of serving free alcohol for Councillors and visitors”. Whipped, I would remind you, to keep the Westley Arms  open and the WLBC Gravy Train  on track!

WLR reported “The Mayor’s Parlour  was provided at a cost from council tax of £44,799. “I work hard as a Councillor, I don’t expect residents will begrudge me a glass of wine after a meeting”. That was then Cllr Val Hopley  speaking in April 2013, as a recipient of generous annual allowances of £9,684. The then Council Leader Ian Grant argued ‘it only costs £3.00 per day’ to fund the booze. He said “The amount you are talking about creating, this fantastic pot of money to spend on all these initiatives [through money saved by axing free alcohol], is £1,200”. He too was in receipt of very generous annual allowances, £16,947. But, as you will know, it wasn’t the amount but the moral turpitude, the “I’m alright Jack” attitude”. Thankfully the Labour council closed it down.

And there is more. In June 2015 WLR wrote “In 2011 Midstream’s clients became victims of the Westley budget that ended the off peak travel concession for disabled residents. Imagine it, that wretched policy actually targeted disabled trainees and told them to pay from disability benefit for taxi or full rate Dial-A-Ride just to attend that “real, live, working environment”. In this one act of social vandalism this Borough Council showed its true inequality colours.

Midstream made a statement that it “relies on Dial-A-Ride, and said community transport was the only suitable, affordable option for their members. If there were no concessionary fares from Dial-a-ride, it would have a devastating effect on individuals, whose only other option would be taxis, which are unaffordable. It would also have a devastating effect on Midstream”. Mayor Greenall even invited trainees to his parlour for tea and cake. No sympathy, just cake!

But you could hardly avoid what we identified as the irony of the savings made from this discrimination against disability, an annual £11,000 of travel tokens, when in that year alone a council officer told me “annual budgets of £9,700 were identified for hospitality, which represents a very small proportion of the Council’s gross expenditure of £78m”. Yes, funding the Westley Arms was preferred to funding the Midstream trainees. It’s time to challenge this new borough council to restore a travel concession to disabled residents and especially those who train at Midstream”. Sadly it never happened. £3 a day for councillor booze, claim benefits if disabled so you could train for work, that was the choice and the attitude. Cllr Greenall is a late conversion to equality, but better late than never!


  1. A timely reminder from this excellent blog, that regardless of how much these Councillors pat themselves on the back, we don’t have to look too far back to see many examples of poor behaviour.

    • History, like the snide and liars accusations, and the backwards remark, will always come back as timely reminders.

  2. Examples of poor behaviour from the Conservatives camp! It was Labour who put an end to the Westley Arms or as I called it club Tropicana (where drinks are free). Spot on story though, when I proposed shutting the free bar in the budget it was based on morals. You can’t knock back free vino’s and say I’m alright jack whilst the rate payers of West Lancs suffer the cuts imposed by a Conservative Government. If I was Hopley I would be pretty embarrassed by that comment and the photo!

    • They were picking our pockets for their “free” drinks, and the booze stocks weren’t checked as an officer admitted in writing. Appalling.

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