Labour fly the gravy plane to Beijing

Greenwich’s Labour Council flew six people (including two Councillors) business class to see the Olympic Games in Beijing last month at a cost of £14,000 to Council taxpayers.

At a time when the Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson chose to fly in the cheaper economy class, Greenwich Council flew Councillors and officials to China for the second time this year. The size of the party is one of the largest in London, exceeding the Newham delegation where the Olympic Park is being built in 2012.

Ironically the Labour Council claims that the trip is to ’help promote Greenwich’, but has funded the trips by delaying recruitment of a Head of Tourism for the borough. In recent years, the Labour Council has also cut funding to the Chinese Community School in Greenwich.

Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Spencer Drury said “At a time when residents are facing increased bills for food, heating and Council services, I think this is a completely inappropriate use of taxpayers money. Labour have got their priorities all wrong.”

At the same time Greenwich Council has chosen for a second year to hire a box at the O2. In the first year this cost almost £100,000 at a time when a programme of £24 million of cuts have been implemented in Council services.

In addition, following Boris Johnson’s victory in Greenwich in May, Labour has chosen to double the number of issues of their propaganda paper ’Greenwich Time’, to allow the Council to publicise itself and paper over any problems. Taxpayers are footing the bill for the extra papers.

Similarly, the Times reported in February, that Erith and Thamesmead MP John Austin claimed £22,110 last year for a flat in Rotherhithe despite living in South East London.