Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Time to shine the light on Town Hall, Government and MPs’ Spending: Calls to increase openness and accountability in spending of taxpayers’ cash

To not post on the subject of MPs expenses, I think would be to avoid what is perhaps the singular biggest recent cause of people not trusting politicians. HM The Queen quoted in paper today as being "deeply troubled" by MPs expenses is justly concerned - the actions of certain MPs has damaged parliament.

It would also be grossly amiss of me not to discuss the national Conservative blueprint for local government and councils to publish online details of all expenditure over a set limit, detailing all payments for goods and services. This has already been done by Boris Johnson in London’s City Hall (publishing information on items over £1,000) and by Conservative-run Windsor & Maidenhead (publishing figures over £500).

In light of some postings from other bloggers in South Shields highlighting some of the waste and dare I say, abuse of expenses on South Tyneside Council, surely this greater transparency and accountability being proposed by the Conservative Party would help reduce wasteful expenditure, saving taxpayers’ money. Both local residents and local newspapers could scrutinise this new information, creating a new citizen-led financial discipline on local government.

It was the Conservative Party who brought the press into council chambers in the 1960s, to try to bring more transparency to local government. In the 21st century, we should go further and use the power of the internet to shine the light on public spending and help improve value for money. Greater openness, in both local and central government, is vital to help restore the public’s trust and confidence in our political system.

At a time when the public finances are so tight, every penny counts and openness will impose a citizen-led financial discipline to South Tyneside Council, Whitehall departments and Parliament. The public should have a right to know how exactly their money is being spent.

As reported in the Shields Gazette on Monday 25th May 2009:


Blogger Raj Sengild said...


When you refer to “In light of some postings from other bloggers in South Shields highlighting some of the waste and dare I say, abuse of expenses on South Tyneside Council”, do you refer to Conservative Councillors Milburn and Potts?

8:03 pm  
Blogger Karen Allen said...

No, Raj, I am not talking about particular individuals. I am refering to the systemic and cross party abuse of expenses, seen not only of course at a local level, but as reported for the last few weeks at parliamentary level.

7:14 am  
Blogger Karen Allen said...

I saw in the Gazette today that Councillors Milburn and Potts hold national roles on the Local Government Association, which entails London visits, which I am sure accounts for much of the travel claims.


10:16 pm  

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