A few weeks ago a furore broke out over the Camden Councillor who moved to Arizona to study for a PhD. Due to the outrage that he was still pocketing a £700 a month allowance, he’s subsequently tendered his resignation to the Council. Consider that taxpayers one, councillors aboard the gravy train nil.
Now TPA activist Tony Sharp has found that a Northamptonshire County Councillor believes he can do his job just as well from Switzerland. From all of some 600 miles away from Northamptonshire, Cllr James Ashton believes he can sufficiently represent his constituents. But he can't inspect potholes that need fixing, meet constituents who have pressing concerns and attend meetings despite being hundreds of miles away. Moreover, is he still claiming his £7,086 taxpayer-funded allowance despite only being able to email or call officers and constituents?
Tony also comments on the disgraceful state of the County Council website:
“The end of the Evening Telegraph article says he is a member of the Enterprise Scrutiny Committee and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Committee. This is borne out by the website page for Cllr Ashton. However, the Democratic Services department at Northamptonshire County Council have confirmed to me that these committees no longer exist. They have been replaced by the Customers and Communities Committee, of which Cllr Ashton is not a member.
The County Council website is so completely out of date it is not clear what committees, if any, he is a member of. If he is not a member of any committee, a question that needs to be asked is whether he has avoided committee membership so he can limit his council duties thus enabling him to commute from Switzerland.
Therefore it is possible the only council meetings Cllr Ashton attends are those of the full council, of which there have only been three since March. Although residents rightly expect their councillor to sit on committees and represent their interests, it could be that Cllr Ashton is not delivering his end of the deal. By retaining his County Council seat and potentially only attending three meetings in the last six months, Cllr Ashton is still entitled to his basic member's allowance of around £7,000 per annum, any special responsibility allowances and of course travel expenses.”
As it seems Cllr Ashton is using his email to remain in contact with his constituents, why not ask him yourself to justify his absence from his constituency and whether he is still claiming his £7,000+ a year salary?
Email him at JAshton@northamptonshire.gov.uk and ask him these very important questions. As always, if you get any replies - and you should seeing as Cllr Ashton is committed to working on email to represent his constituents - then do let us know by emailing them through to me. We can't let councillors cut and run with your money. After all, there should be no taxation without representation.
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