Brian Coleman wants to sack all London’s Firefighters

Brian Coleman, or Mr Toad, is now trending on twitter – the reason being is that he has “run out of patience with the FBU” and as the Evening Standard are reporting “will press ahead with [the London Fire Authority’s] “fallback option” of re-employing staff under new terms and conditions.”

It’s hard to believe, but since the union does not want to be pressured into signing new contracts, and because Coleman wants it his way, 5,500 London firefighters could face the sack.

This is the kind of austere democracy we’ve come to expect from Coleman.

Though he wouldn’t like it up himself.

Coleman is Britain’s highest paid councillor (a different side to the EasyCouncil of Barnet). He’s been repeatedly caught out over his expense claims, which tallied up largely reveal expensive taxi fares.

For 2010-2011 this is no different, as his London Fire Brigade expenses will reveal. At a time when we’re all in this together, some notable claims made are:

  • 21/11/2010 – Taxi (invoiced) – Taxi journey for Chairman and Chairman’s Lady – from the Cenotaph, Whitehall SW1 for Annual Service of Remembrance (£66.09)
  • 12/11/2010 – Taxi (invoiced) – Taxi journeys: Chairman and Chairman’s Lady – to GLA Annual Remembrance Service at City Hall, SE1; Chairman only – from GLA City Hall to CLG Eland House, SW1 for Fire Futures Steering Group; from CLG Eland House to Bevis Marks Synagogue, Heneage Lane EC3 for Service of Thanksgiving; from Bevis Marks Synagogue to home (£145.93)
  • 27/10/2010 – Taxi (invoiced) – Taxi journey from Houses of Parliament SW1 to Union St. (£19.20)
  • 12/09/2010 – Taxi (invoiced) – Taxi journeys with Mrs Coleman – drop off at Church of St Bartholomew the Great, EC1; pick up from St Pauls Cathedral, EC4 – Firefighters Memorial Trust Annual Service of Remembrance (held in two different locations) (drop off at Church of St Bartholomew the Great, EC1; pick up from St Pauls Cathedral, EC4 – Firefighters Memorial Trust Annual Service of Remembrance (held in two different locations) (£140.55)

Anyone would think he didn’t get free travel around London worth £1,700.

But for all his misgivings about firefighters having two jobs, Mr Coleman in fact has four. And he’s not short of a few bob either (something to be considered when you think how much he costs the taxpayer for car mileage and the congestion charge – when we’re all in this together).

Investigative journalist David Hencke did some number crunching to reveal his income:

Brian Coleman holds down four jobs all funded by the taxpayer. They are:

Member of the London Assembly                                                      allowance: £53,439

Cabinet member Barnet Council                                                         allowance: £38,177

Chair London Fire Brigade                                                                   allowance: £26,883

Chair LGA* fire services management committee                    allowance: £10,365

Grand Total from the taxpayer                                                                                £128,864

*Local Government Association, a voluntary body funded by councils from council taxpayers.

And of course his expenses:

Brian is a great expense claimer never knowingly underclaimed. He can claim for expenses for three of his four jobs – the LGA don’t allow him.

He is a big patron of London cabbies claiming once over £10,000 a year  from the London Assembly on trips (2006-07). He is now more modest – claims have varied between £8000 -plus a £1700 travel card (2007-08) and £345 for 2009-10. All from the taxpayer.

His fire brigade expense claims are not much different.These include a £119 taxi fare to the Fire Service Awards Ceremony in  May 2009 and £143 to attend Westminster’s Lord Mayor’s reception for the Lord Mayor of London. He also spent £402 on a  rail ticket to go a LGA conference in Manchester. Little difference in 2011 -with a £145 taxi fare for him and his mum to go to a  firefighters service of remembrance  and meetings in London.

His red letter claims day is May 12 this year – where he managed to claim car mileage, congestion charge and over £67 in taxis  for a dinner -all on the same day.

His gifts include four dinners (three of them before the company won the contract) and a £350  Harvey Nichols hamper from the head of AssetCo, John Shannon, the company which has a £9m PFI deal with his authority and provided strike cover.

There’s also some interesting details on his home life, and his landlords the Methodist Church in Finchley.

Colman justifies all this by saying he works 100-hour weeks with few days off, but this hasn’t been enough to convince the website, aptly called Is Brian Coleman a tedious cock?, who remind us that:

How long will he get away with it for?

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