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Monday, 17 October 2011

Merrick Cockell sets his 'attack dog' on Daily Telegraph

Council bosses use credit cards for lavish lifestyles...The Daily Telegraph

Sir Merrick Cockell is chairman of  the LGA. Today his Chief Executive, £220,000 a year John Ransford said: “These chief executives are responsible for huge organisations with budgets of up to £1 billion a year, running services that are vital to every family in Britain. It is part and parcel of the job that they have to travel to meet top people from the public and private sectors, and this can involve stays in hotels and the proportionate use of hospitality.”

 left: LGA chairman Cockell tells LGA to 'go on the attack'

The Dame understands that Sir Cockle instructed Ransford to take an aggressive stance with the Daily Telegraph, justifying the taxpayer funded expenses, credit cards, Michelin starred restaurants, exclusive golf resorts and luxury spas'. Part of the expenses involved bills for personal training came to £220,000. They have taken courses in “understanding corporate manslaughter,” “tribal leadership” and “learning how to relax under pressure”. Could the Tribal Leadership have anything to do with Sir Cockle's very cosy relationship with Tribal Plc.
It is clear that Merrick Cockell told Ransford to go 'on the attack'. Well he would would wouldn't he? Cockell is a man with a well publicised record for using taxpayers' money...
As The Standard reported Cockell had....
.....two lavish trips to New York at local taxpayers' expense, it emerged today.
Merrick Cockell, Conservative leader of Kensington and Chelsea, flew first class, ate at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the city and stayed in a five-star hotel.
He was also entertained in London by a series of property developers, including being lunched at the Ritz.
The disclosure comes after Mayor Boris Johnson's deputy, Ian Clement, had his corporate credit card confiscated for using it to pay for supermarket shopping and upgrades to business-class flights.
Mr Cockell made two trips to New York. During the first, in January 2007, he dined at The Four Seasons, one of the city's most famous restaurants. It has hosted John F Kennedy and wife Jackie, American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Henry Kissinger. New York magazine describes it as where "members of the town's power menagerie gather".
The dinner cost $185 (£98.68 at the exchange rate at the time). Mr Cockell did not declare who he ate with.

To hear the utterly useless Eric Pickles bleating on about the wrongness of it all is just surreal. Why does he not take his friend Cockell to one side and give him an earful.....

left: Pickles telling Cockell to 'stop it'

According to Heidi Blake in the Telegraph.....

.......senior executives regularly flew first class(just like Cockell!) and stayed in exotic destinations such as Shanghai, Tuscany and San Francisco;spent thousands of pounds on tickets to stadium concerts and prestigious sporting events, and even used public money to buy suits, iPads and vintage wine.
One town hall chief executive charged the taxpayer more than £100 to buy presents for his chauffeur on an all-expenses paid trip to the Champagne region of France, while another bought silk ties from “London’s oldest tailor.
The former chief executive of Barnet, enjoyed an afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason.
Colin Hilton, the former chief executive of Liverpool City Council, spent £1,152 taking colleagues to a sold out Coldplay concert, while, John Jory of Reigate and Banstead charged the taxpayer £922 for two “away-days” at the Surrey Downs Golf Club.
The disclosures are likely to provoke public fury at a time when councils are axing more than 170,000 jobs, closing libraries and cutting spending on care for the elderly. Council tax has more than doubled over the past decade as local authorities have insisted they need more money to survive.
The documents show that chief executives have lavished £6,500 on gifts to their staff including vintage wines and champagnes, whisky, flowers and chocolates.
They have also spent £12,000 shopping at high street stores including Harrods, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis.


  1. Councillor Cockell was urged at the last Council meeting to spend judiciously in order to reduce the Council's reserves to a level more acceptable to Mr. Pickles. However, he grandly advised the Council that his friend Mr. Pickles is very happy with the way things are run in Kensington and Chelsea. So I think we need to take Mr. Pickles's bleatings with a pinch of salt.

  2. "Cockell goes on attack" could be very dangerous for the LGA because the man has very poor political judgement.

    With the expense abuse reported by the Telegraph, a more prudent person would lie low. But not our Pooter. After all, when challenged about the $300 of taxpayers money that he shelled out to entertain a friend to dinner on a Saturday night in New York he blustered "I forget the name". A more prudent offender would have repaid the money quietly.

    And then there was the $414 of taxpayers money that Cllr Cockell spent to entertain his friend ex Cllr Ian Clement to dinner, also in New York. He slipped this one through the accountants at London Councils.

    It is to be hoped that the expense control department at the Local Govt Association is on red alert

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