Armed with my Apple Mac and a spongy wrist cushion, I set about the task at hand, as I waded through over 100 PDFs of Councillor capital to pinpoint where exactly the funds were going and how effective this use was to us as voters.
After 2 days of tagging and forwarding receipts for anything from sound speakers to sellotape, I had concocted a list of my most interesting finds…
- The amount of times I must have tagged the word ‘leaflets‘ into my Hotmail subject window was untrue. It seems that on almost every receipt I looked over there was a charge for leaflets. Small, large, double-sided, full-colour, singing & dancing, they were all there. But this just makes me question ‘are they really getting their money’s worth?’ For example, how many of us actually sit deep in thought about a flyer that comes through our letter box? In all truthfulness it’d be lucky if it got a quick glance before being chucked straight into the paper box. Recycle, recycle.
- On a few receipts, I noticed details of ‘equipment hire’… from themselves. I can’t understand how the Liberal Democrats could charge themselves for equipment lease and then reimburse themselves?
- I was surprised to find on a number of occasions that some of the candidates had been ‘fined‘ for varying reasons, and this had also been taken out of funds. One example of this was a fine for failing to returned leased goods from a sound company. Apparently only 3 out of 4 megaphones had been returned! Why didn’t they just return them all?
- On a few of the expenditure breakdowns, there was a whole host of food receipts for staff. Mostly from ‘Papa John’s‘.
- Now the expense that really wound me up was the ridiculous amount of money spent on ENVELOPES! Just on 6 sets of receipts I totted up a gigantic bill of £3,269.20!! ‘Blue envelopes’, ‘white envelopes’, ‘TNT envelopes’, & even ‘reinforced envelopes’ were purchased in their tens of thousands. On one receipt in particular one candidate forked out on 90,000 ‘windowed envelopes’ costing a whopping £1,054! And the best about it is over 20,000+ weren’t even used!
To view images of Birmingham’s Hall Green expenses, click here.
To view images of Birmingham’s Edgbaston expenses, click here.