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Birch blocks questions on income and expenses

May 26, 2009 11:21 PM

Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader of the Labour Group on Hastings Borough Council, has blocked questions from local Liberal Democrats about the income and expenses that he derives from the public purse.

In a manner strikingly different to that of Labour MP Michael Foster who, at the weekend, published details of his expenses in the local press, Cllr Birch has refused to be up front about his earnings, saying that,

"It is published information - local authorities publish it every year as do public bodies. Check their websites and you can find out how much is paid to councillors in allowances."

Nick Perry, the Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Hastings & Rye has written back to Cllr Birch asking him to confirm the roles for which he is paid by the taxpayer.

It is thought that Cllr Birch receives money for the following roles:

• Hastings Borough Councillor

• Leader of the Labour Group on HBC

• Cabinet member, HBC

• East Sussex County Councillor

• Board member of the Primary Care Trust

• Role with South East England Development Agency

• Role with the Arts Council

Nick said, "Maybe he knows deep down that he is riding a local government gravy train? I suspect that's why Cllr Birch has been so reticent to disclose his gross income."

Jeremy Birch is currently seeking to move County Council seats from Baird & Ore, to Old Hastings & Tressell on 4 June.