Labour-run Wigan Council is spending £27,000 on a new reserve car for the Mayor. The second car is maintained for when the main car is unavailable due to servicing. The Council regularly features in monitoring by the Taxpayers Alliance for its extravagance. It spends £190,400 a year on mobile phone calls. Top heavy with highly paid managers they employ ten staff on over £100,000 a year including a Chief Executive on £195,000. They also have 220 staff on over £50,000 a year.
Yet all these management didn't prove effective in stopping serious fraud from taking place – of nearly £200,000 over four years. One way of reducing the risk of fraud is transparency. But Wigan has a culture of secrecy. For instance they refuse to publish the register of councillors interests on their website. While spending on Council publicity is nearly £1.5 million a year.
Wigan charges £1,157 for a Band D Council Tax, £72 more than Trafford. Yet Wigan fails to spend the money effectively. The Audit Commission has placed Wigan Borough the second dirtiest borough in Greater Manchester.
One of the local Labour MPs in the area covered by the Council is Health Secretary Andy Burnham, the MP for Leigh. I wonder what he makes of it all.