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Glasgow City Council

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Lord Provost Eva Bolander receives a civic allowance

The Lord Provost of Glasgow has been criticised after it emerged her expenses included claims for 23 pairs of shoes.

The Daily Record reports Eva Bolander submitted receipts totalling more than £8,000 over a 28-month period.

A council spokesman said the SNP councillor incurs personal expenses as she is required to represent the city at hundreds of events.

But Glasgow Labour MSP James Kelly said her position was not tenable.

Mr Kelly said: “While services for homeless people across Glasgow are being cut, the SNP Lord Provost has been touring the city in a grotesque spending spree at the taxpayers’ expense.

“In just one trip to John Lewis she spent more on herself than what a worker being paid the national minimum wage earns in a whole week.

“Eva Bolander should pay back the money and resign.”

‘Do the right thing’

Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP Annie Wells said: “For any politician to think they can claim something like this on expenses is a joke.

“It’s not even one or two misdemeanours – these revelations show a pattern of behaviour which will be completely unacceptable to council tax payers in Glasgow.

“She must now do the right thing and stand down – there’s simply no way she can continue in this senior role after these reports. She also owes the people of Glasgow an almighty apology.”

The figures, obtained under a Freedom of Information request, cover claims between May 2017 and August this year.

The paper reports Ms Bolander spent £1,150 on shoes, including a single order for two pairs from Watford-based Sole Bliss which cost £308.

The Lord Provost’s expenses also included £389 for Harris Tweed fabric, around £992 for 14 dresses and £435 for seven blazers.

Ms Bolander – who earns £39,310 – got her nails done 20 times and claimed for 10 hair appointments totalling £751.

The most expensive items were a pair of £358 spectacles and £200 hat from milliner William Chambers.

By Jamie McIvor, BBC Scotland Local Government Correspondent

There is no accusation of impropriety against the Lord Provost of Glasgow Eva Bolander.

The money spent was within the civic allowance allocated to the council by the Scottish government.

The issue here is whether the amount spent on clothes was necessarily politically wise at a time when local government continues to face tough financial choices.

For opposition parties, the story seems like an open goal. Try justifying spending on clothes to someone unhappy about a cut or an unfilled pothole.

Ms Bolander’s supporters would point out that her role involves representing the council (and indeed Glasgow itself) at a large number of events in the city and beyond.

There is little love lost between the Labour and SNP groups on Glasgow City Council.

Labour is still reeling that the SNP gained control of the administration in 2017 – promising a greater degree of openness and transparency.

The question is whether spending this amount of money on clothes is an appropriate use of public resource – does it send out the right signals about the administration in Glasgow or about local government in general? This is to a large extent about the optics.

The money may be a drop in the ocean within Glasgow City Council’s overall budget but, given the cuts and savings local government has made in recent years, opponents will not be hesitant to suggest what they would consider to be more appropriate uses of taxpayers’ money.

A council spokesman said: “The national committee that oversees councillors’ pay recognises that the requirement to represent their city at hundreds of events means Lord Provosts often incur personal expenses.

“For that reason, the Scottish government allocates a civic allowance to each council.

“For Glasgow City Council, this is subject to a yearly maximum of £5,000.”

The civic allowance, which was introduced by the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee, replaced the clothing allowance and reflects a councillor’s public profile.

For that reason the Lord Provost is eligible to claim more than a backbench councillor.

Last year the council came under fire for accepting a Rolls Royce Ghost for use as the Lord Provost’s car at a time when it was preparing to increase nursery fees by 57%.

It later emerged the anonymous donor was Boyd Tunnock, owner of the Tunnock’s biscuit business.

The businessman said he just wanted to do “a good thing” for the city.

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Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

 

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