Ukip motion to banish internet claims is quashed

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A COUNCILLOR has failed in a bid to stop others claiming for home internet use on expenses.

Christopher Wood, who represents Stubbington on Fareham Borough Council and is part of Ukip, put forward his idea at the last full council meeting.

He wanted to put a stop to councillors claiming hundreds of pounds per year under a column labelled ‘internet rental’, which he said was wasting taxpayers’ money.

Cllr Wood, who also represents Crofton on Hampshire County Council, said: ‘The council is out of touch and out of date.

‘There is no system in place to track it or regulate it, so how do they know it is being used for council use?

‘With all the cuts, I could not see a reason for councillors having their internet paid for.’

His motion to stop the internet rental expense was not backed by any other councillor, so it has been scrapped.

Cllr Wood, who is the only Ukip councillor on Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘Not one person would put their necks on the line.

‘It was unfortunate. I am only one person with one voice and it can be very frustrating. This is the problem that Ukip has in Fareham’

Fareham’s leader Sean Woodward was one of six councillors at Fareham who claimed the internet rental allowance last year.

He claimed £403.20 of the total £1,284.74, which he said was to provide BlackBerry Enterprise Server, a secure network that he could access remotely via a tablet.

Cllr Woodward said this expense had now stopped as the council had cancelled the service, but that it had enabled him to carry out work remotely.

He said that he would be ordering a full review of the council’s internet rental expense as the section hid a variety of claims for servers, equipment and even a fax machine.

Councillors at Portsmouth City Council and at Hampshire County Council cannot claim for internet use.

Councillors in Gosport can claim up to £25 per month and councillors in Havant can claim up to £90 per year.

Gosport leader Mark Hook defended the expense.

He said: ‘It is a legitimate claim. Councillors work 24/7 and a lot of their work is done via email. Councillors have to submit a bill as proof. It is something they need to do their job.’