Express & Star

New UKIP Councillor snubs Mayor's meal

The first and only UKIP councillor in Sandwell has snubbed a Mayoral meal in a protest over the cash spent on the event.


Councillor Philip Garrett, voted into the Princes End seat in Tipton in last month's elections, has hit out at cash being spent on Wednesday night's £2,700 celebration of the investiture of a new mayor.

Missing the three-course meal, held in West Bromwich, he followed the lead of his party colleagues in Dudley who last week skipped a similar meal held to welcome borough's new mayor.

Councillor Garrett said: "There is a local fitness club in Tipton for children and teenagers which is struggling and is desperate for funding to prevent it from closing.

"The money spend on this council social event would go a long way to help stop the centre from closing."

Council chiefs though say the event is paid for out of the mayor's budget.

Councillor Philip Garrett missed the three-course meal, held in West Bromwich on Wednesday, criticising the £2,700 cost.

He said: "This sort of unnecessary spending within the council is what annoys the public in this time of austerity.

"Local people are having to tighten their belts in order to just survive week by week and they see this lavish spending and it makes them and me very annoyed.

"I was elected a councillor by the people of Princes End to do my best to help them, which I will endeavour to do and will not be wasting their money on my social life at glitzy events."

He was voted into the Princes End seat in Tipton in last month's elections. His decision followed fellow UKIP members on Dudley Council acting similarly.

But the deputy leader of the Labour-run Sandwell Council, Councillor Steve Eling, has hit back at his claims and said his party should 'get their own house in order'.

"Nigel Farage has just been off to Malta on a great jolly, and didn't make it to the Newark by-election until the last day.

Councillor Eling added that the cost of the meal would be coming out of the mayor's own allowances, which they get every year, and not out of the council's main coffers.

Sandwell's new mayor is Derek Rowley.

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