Tory leader Fisher is caught red-handed with £10,000 pay hike

Councillor Mike Fisher at a meeting of the Croydon Tory group

Councillor Mike Fisher at a meeting of the Croydon Tory group

Mike Fisher, the leader of the Tories on Croydon Council, has more reason than usual to be red-faced today, after he was caught red-handed having paid himself an extra £10,000 in his final year as leader of the council.

Anyone would think Fisher desperately needed the extra cash, as in the run-up to the local elections in May he completely forgot to mention the unilateral 20 per cent pay rise he had awarded himself.

Fisher’s council allowances went from already generous £53,223 to the

£62,352

which he pocketed for 2013-2014, according to official council accounts published today.

With the exception of Yvette Hopley, who had an increase because she was the Mayor of Croydon, no other Croydon councillors had significant rises in their allowances last year.

In total, the Council Tax-payers of Croydon paid their 70 councillors

£1,465,683

in allowances in 2013-2014.

If he keeps his eyes closed, will no one notice? Mike Fisher on election night: he was 10 grand better off at Croydon's expense

If he keeps his eyes closed, will no one notice? Mike Fisher on election night: he was 10 grand better off at Croydon’s expense

Fisher gave up his civil service job to become a full-time politician, funded through local taxes. But yesterday public servant Fisher was too lazy, or too ignorant, to respond to Inside Croydon when offered the opportunity to comment on the mounting speculation that his position as leader of Croydon’s Tories was increasingly untenable.

Instead, Fisher went to a small circulation newspaper based in Dorking to proclaim, “I’m going nowhere.”

After today’s allowances figures were published, Fisher might be going straight to the offices of the district auditor to explain himself.

In May, Fisher, a councillor for Shirley ward, led the Tories to a demoralising Town Hall election defeat. Afterwards, he seemed quite proud of himself when he said that he and his Conservative mates had left “a debt black hole” after eight years of mismanaging the borough’s affairs. At the time, no one thought that those debts were a direct result of Fisher’s own greed.

Jimmy the Snark, the bookies’ runner in South Croydon, told Inside Croydon“They’ve stopped taking all bets on Mike Fisher losing the job as Tory leader at the Town Hall now. It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. 

“Clacton’s more likely to have the same man as their MP next month than Croydon Tories having the same leader.”

John Cartwright, also known as John Loony, the former Monster Raving Loony candidate who “defected” to the Tories in 2013 and was welcomed with open arms, is the overwhelming early choice in Inside Croydon’s poll of who might be the next Croydon Conservative leader . Albeit just ahead of “None of the above”.

 

Gavin Barwell, the Tory MP for the Whitgift Foundation, was quick to take to Twitter this afternoon to express his anger at the news report in the Sadvertiser about Fisher’s personal pay rise. With his Croydon Central seat being targeted by Labour at next May’s General Election, Barwell’s anger is more to do with his own position being undermined by such a senior Croydon Tory being exposed as having his snout in the trough.

Barwell, who is a government whip as well as an MP, was not too busy to return to Twitter to say, “I’m angry because it is wrong for him to get big pay increase when staff get 1 per cent and doubly wrong to do so secretly.”

Barwell stopped short, though, of calling for his former council colleague to resign.

Under Fisher’s council, hundreds of council staff lost their jobs, while many others had their working conditions reduced. Front-line services were cut, despite a Council Tax increase in 2013.

While he was secretly claiming £62,352 for himself, in 2013 Fisher’s council decided that there was not enough money to pay the £60,000 for nine part-time school crossing patrols.

And while he thought nothing of pocketing an extra £10,000 a year, Fisher’s council decided that Croydon could not afford the £10,000 annual budget to maintain the borough’s historic twinning links with Arnhem in this, the 70th anniversary year of Operation Market Garden.

“The fact is, I hadn’t had a pay rise for eight years and I decided I was going to need to take some of the money, which is what I did,” Fisher oinked.



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Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

 

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Council Tax, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Gavin Barwell, Mike Fisher, Shirley and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tory leader Fisher is caught red-handed with £10,000 pay hike

  1. davidcallam says:

    All that public service hogwash that councillors are so keen to spout: it means nothing. They’re in it for the money.

    A secret pay rise of £10,000. The man should be required to resign immediately. His Tory chums should insist on it.

    Let him join the dole queue and find out what life is like for all the council employees he made redundant.

    Like

  2. arnorab says:

    Your illustration, brilliant as it is, was too flattering! We should be able to recoup the £10K unless he can prove he actually did something to deserve it. If not, he and all his supporters should quit the premises forthwith….that is if they can actually find their way out of Bernard Wetherill Towers.

    Like

  3. Andrew Leng says:

    Man of the people, Gavin Barwell, describes the £10,000 Fisher took from Croydon Council as “doubly wrong”. Wow – such strong condemnation, don’t mince your words Gavin. I bet Mike Fisher was quaking in his shoes when you said that.

    If the MP for Croydon Central really believes that Fisher has done wrong by taking the £10,000, he should be demanding that his Tory chum returns the money to the council and that he should resign his position as a Councillor. However there’s none of that in Barwell’s rather weak response to this. Instead he trots out the line/excuse that Mike Fisher is a friend etc… and that his decision to speak out will “anger people in my own party”. Careful there Gavin – you don’t want to upset your Tory chums too much do you?

    Too bloody right it should anger people in the Tory Party. More importantly it should infuriate every resident of Croydon because Fisher has treated us with total contempt by secretly taking this money.

    Show some backbone, put aside friendship and party loyalty for once and act professionally Mr Barwell and in the interests of Croydon residents. Otherwise this will come back to bite you big time, come election time.

    Like

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