Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Questions raised over Corporate Credit Cards at Tory Libdem Scottish Borders Council as ex-Chief Executive David Hume ran up £9K bill on taxpayers

In Credit thanks to taxpayers : SBC former Chief Executive David Hume. QUESTIONS have been raised over the number & volume of CORPORATE CREDIT CARDS issued by the Tory-LibDem controlled Scottish Borders Council to its staff & others after it was revealed the now former SBC Chief Executive, David Hume, ran up a NINE THOUSAND POUND BILL on a PAID-FOR-BY-TAXPAYERS credit card issued to him by the same scandal tarnished Scottish Borders Council which lost up to TEN MILLION POUNDS in dodgy investments in now bankrupt Icelandic Banks. SBC is now seeking to cover its multi million pound Icelandic losses through the Scottish Government’s dodgy “consent to borrow scheme”, branded a ‘Council Tax freeze buy off’ by local Government experts.

The information on Mr Hume’s credit card expenses was released in response to a Freedom of Information request, which revealed among many other things, the now former Chief Executive Mr Hume liked to stay at the Royal Overseas League and the London Bridge Hotel all at taxpayers expense on Scottish Borders Council’s corporate credit card.

Mr Hume also charged for attending an Enterprising Britain awards at 11 Downing Street Award Ceremony on 16-17 October 2008. Hume seems to have been there simply because the Heart of Hawick project (a restoration of the area where the Tower Hotel used to be) was on a short list of 13 projects across the UK. The award was won by the Scarborough Renaissance Partnership. Mr Hume ran up a bill of £620 including a return flight to London costing £301 and a night’s accommodation at the swanky London Bridge Hotel (£194) and a lunch for two (£76).

From 2004 onwards Scottish Borders Council co-ordinated a “Shop Local” campaign, encouraging people to spend their money in Borders retail outlets. On 9th November 2009 Mr Hume purchased a brooch (broatch) to give to a host family during a study tour to Japan. According to the record Hume bought the brooch for £51.31 from Ola Gorie Jewellery, a designer jewellery business based in ORKNEY, which is very far removed from the Scottish Borders, who Mr Hume was allegedly representing and whose local council tax payers pay his credit card bill.

The now former Chief Executive Mr Hume also ran up charges which included magazine subscriptions to the Harvard Business Review, reference books, crockery, £7.74 for parking fees at a Commonwealth Games planning event, and even £4 for a ticket on the London Underground.

The SNP’s Christine Grahame, MSP for the area and Chair of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee questioned why Mr Hume was able to use a corporate credit card while many constituents in the Scottish Borders are facing financial oblivion.

Ms Grahame said : “While many of my constituents are struggling to make ends meet Mr Hume was using a corporate credit card to enjoy luxuries and pay for expensive goods. It also beggars belief that in his time as Chief Executive of the council he backed numerous campaigns to shop local but decided to buy a brooch from Orkney as a gift for a visiting dignitary.?”

She added : “I would like to know if Mr Hume had carte blanche when using his credit card or was this expenditure monitored. I also feel that taxpayers need to know whether this extravagance was sanctioned by senior councillors who were, at the same time, grappling with the need to cut spending and ensure value for money.?”

While taxpayers may well have cause to be shocked at the scale of huge credit card bills racked up by Scottish Borders Council staff during these times of public service cuts and extortionate local Council Tax charges, it can now be revealed today there are several more credit cards issued by Scottish Borders Council to other officials including Departmental Heads : Directors of Education (Glenn Rodger), Social Work (Andrew Lowe), Resources (Tracey Logan) and Environment & Infrastructure (Rob Dickson). Details of the expenditures on these cards have now also been requested.

Scottish Borders Council recently hit the headlines with revelations of huge salaries, expenses & more, here : Reasons your Scottish Borders Council tax is so high : 15 Councillors soak up £1/2 million, Officials & Chief Exec on £100K plus & golden pensions & MONEY TO BURN : Millions lost in Icelandic banks yet 34 Scottish Borders Councillors soak up another million in salaries & expenses claims

Scottish Borders Council announced Mr Hume’s resignation on 1 July 2011, after a “change in his personal circumstances”. The ANNOUNCEMENT stated :

After nine very successful years at Scottish Borders Council and following a change in his personal circumstances, David Hume will be retiring from his post as Chief Executive with effect from Monday 15 August 2011.

Speaking, following his decision, Mr Hume stated:  “In the last nine years we have implemented a programme of change and improvement which has transformed the Council, and improved the quality of life in the Scottish Borders. As Chief Executive of the Council it has been a privilege to lead and direct these changes. However the greatest privilege of all has been to work with council colleagues, colleagues from other agencies, and the people of Border communities who never fail to demonstrate their remarkable characteristics of commitment, integrity and intelligence. I thank them all and reserve special thanks for employees of Scottish Borders Council who, in my opinion, are simply the best.” 

Council Leader David Parker said: “The Council is most grateful to David for his loyal and dedicated service over the last nine years.  He has been instrumental in the Council’s success, and has demonstrated enormous commitment to the Council and the Scottish Borders. He departs with the best wishes of all elected Members and staff. He leaves a Council that is in strong heart, and which has been transformed under his leadership.”

No mention was made in the announcement of Mr Hume’s departure of how much the Chief Executive had cost local taxpayers, nor were any benefits to the Scottish Borders of Mr Hume’s Japanese study tour mentioned.

A local political reform campaigner today condemned the huge amounts of money spent by SBC officials on credit cards.

He said : “I thought David Cameron said we were all in this recession together ? However this does not appear to be the case at Scottish Borders Council.”

He continued : “This binge on credit cards at Scottish Borders Council is one of the many causes why we in the Scottish Borders are all having to fork out extortionate council tax payments on properties worth nowhere near their claimed values to keep Councillors and their officials in their undeserved luxurious salaries, expenses & pensions schemes while the rest of us rot. It is disgusting. They should be made to repay every penny.”

The full details of Mr Hume’s reasons to be cheerful (having a taxpayer funded credit card you don't need to worry about paying at the end of the month) are revealed here :

FOI Request - Spend on Credit Card in name of David Hume

Date Item purchased Reason Vendor Cost (£) Statement Date 2008/09
21.04.08 Magazine Subscription Reference Harvard Business Review £69 07.05.08
08.05.08 Magazine Subscription Reference E Map Business Communications £195 05.06.08
10.06.08 Return Train Ticket, Edinburgh - Glasgow Meeting Transport Minister National Express £9.80 05.06.08
11.06.08 2 Reference Books Reference Van Guard Consulting £36.60 05.06.08
27.06.08 1 Night Hotel Accomadation Conference Attendance Patio Hotel, Aberdeen £131.91 05.06.08
30.06.08 Lunch for 3 people Meeting Doric Tavern, Edinburgh £48.20 05.06.08
03.06.08 Lunch for 2 people Meeting Marmions, Melrose £23.04 05.06.08
04.08.08 Lunch for 3 people Meeting Burts, melrose £73.74 06.08.08
04.09.08 Annual Members Fee Corporate Credit Card Bank of Scotland £20.00 04.09.08
06.10.08 Ret. Flight Edin-Lon Award Ceremony, Downing Street BMI £301.60 06.11.08
16.10.08 Lunch for 2 ppl Award Ceremony, Downing Street London Bridge hotel £76.83 06.11.08
16.10.08 Accom. Hotel Award Ceremony, Downing Street London Bridge hotel £194.89 06.11.08
17.10.08 Parking Airport Award Ceremony, Downing Street NCP ltd £10.89 06.11.08
16.10.08 Shuttle Fair London Award Ceremony, Downing Street Heathrow Rail Link £32.00 06.11.08
17.10.08 Underground Ticket Award Ceremony, Downing Street TFL MFM £4.00 06.11.08
23.10.08 Ticket for Award Ceremony Scottish Border Awards Dinner Big Partnership Aberdeen £45.00 06.11.08
26.10.08 Parking Fees Commonwealth Games Planning Event NCP ltd £7.74 06.11.08
21.10.08 Hotel Accommodation COSLA Conference Watermill Hotel, Paisley £51.06 06.11.08
26.10.08 Hotel Accommodation commonwealth games planning event SAS Radison Glas £114.89 06.11.08
27.11.08 Seminar Attendance Fee Election Training Seminar Solice Enterprises Ltd £390.00 04.12.08
02.03.09 Magazine Subscription Reference £93.00 05.03.09
16.03.09 Crockery Office Use China Presentation £126.47 06.04.09
13.05.09 Magazine Subscription Reference Harvard Business Review £85.00 07.05.09
11.06.09 Dinner for 6 people Visiting International Dignatory Town House, Melrose £115.98 06.07.09
17.06.09 Membership Fee Reduced Accommodation Cost Royal Overseas League £143.00 06.07.09
17.06.09 Return Flight, Edinburgh - London SFI Board Meeting BMI £173.60 06.07.09
22.06.09 Underground Ticket, London SFI Board Meeting TFL MFM £4.00 06.07.09
23.06.09 1 Night B&B, London SFI Board Meeting Royal Overseas League £113.91 06.07.09
23.06.09 Airport Parking Costs SFI Board Meeting NCP Ltd £12.52 06.07.09
22.06.09 Heathrow Express Ticket SFI Board Meeting Heathrow Rail Link £32.00 06.07.09

23.06.09 Underground Ticket SFI Board Meeting TFL MFM £4.00 06.07.09
18.08.09 Crockery Office Use China Presentation £54.17 06.08.09
07.09.09 Membership Fee Corporate Credit Card membership Bank of Scotland £20.00 06.08.09
11.09.09 Conference Fees Solice Conference, Brighton Solice Ltd £210.00 06.10.09
24.09.09 Return Flight, London - Tokyo Study Tour Japan Airline Net £1,164.52 06.10.09
25.09.09 Flight, Edinburgh - Gatwick Solice Conference, Brighton BMI £51.20 06.10.09
25.09.09 Flight Gatwick - Edinburgh Solice Conference, Brighton Air France £93.26 06.10.09
25.09.09 Return, Flight Edinburgh - London Pre Meet Japanese Study Tour (in London) British Airways £106.60 06.10.09
05.10.09 Return Fair Edinburgh - Glasgow Railway Meeting National Express £31.40 06.10.09
05.10-.09 Railway Parking Fee Railway Meeting Apcoa Parking £6.96 06.10.09
05.10.09 Rail Link  Japanese Study Tour Pre Meeting Heathrow Rail Link £32.00 06.10.09
05.10.09 Evening Meal Japenese Study Tour Pre Meeting Seafood Bar, Edinburgh Airport £8.02 06.10.09
06.10.09 Airport Parking Speaking Engagement Solice Conference NCP ltd £12.52 05.11.09
06.10.09 Hotel Accommodation Japanese Study Tour Pre Meeting Royal Overseas League £108.91 05.11.09
05.10.09 Coffee/tea Meeting Sheraton Hotel, Edinburgh £8.83 05.11.09
14.10.09 Conference Fees Solice Conference, Brighton Solice UK £398.00 05.11.09
20.10.09 Trian Ticket, Gatwick - Brighton Solice Conference, Brighton Gatwick Express £24.90 05.11.09
20.10.09 Lunch Solice Conference, Brighton Café Rouge £14.13 05.11.09
22.10.09 Train Ticket, Brighton - London Solice Conf Brighton Southern Rail Brighton £30.40 05.11.09
22.10.09 Airport Parking Solice Conference, Brighton NCP Ltd £20.61 05.11.09
22.10.09 Underground Ticket Solice Conference, Brighton TFL MFM £6.30 05.11.09
22.10.09 2 Nights Accommodation Solice Conference, Brighton Hilton Hotel, Brighton £186.91 05.11.09
23.10.09 Overnite Accommodation Cosla Seminar Dacota Hotel, Glasgow £89.13 05.11.09
03.11.09 Crockery Office Use China Presentation £27.04 05.11.09
09.11.09 Broatch Gift to Host Family in Japan Ola Gorie Jewellery £51.31 04.12.09
09.11.09 Flight, London - Edinburgh Study Tour Japan BMI £93.00 04.12.09
09.11.09 Flight, Edinburgh - London Study Tour Japan BMI £54.30 04.12.09
09.11.09 Overnight Accommodation, London (pre flight) Study Tour Japan Destina Group £85.39 04.12.09
18.11.09 Evening Meals, 2 days Study Tour Japan Prince Hotels, Tokyo £46.63 04.12.09
26.11.09 Evening Meals plus Coffee, 2 days Study Tour Japan Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo £63.47 04.12.09
16.12.09 Conference Fees Solice Conference £488.75 07.01.10
28.01.10 Evening Meeting and Dinner for 3 people Visiting Chief Executive Burts Hotel, Melrose £265.06 07.01.10
02.02.10 Mobile Phone Case Protect Phone Amazon £9.95 05.02.10
10.02.10 Conference Fees Conference Attendance J Press Scott .adv £149.00 05.03.10
08.03.10 Flight, London - Edinburgh SFI Editorial Board Meeting BMI Onine £86.30 08.04.10
08.03.10 Flight, Edinburgh - London SFI Editorial Board Meeting British Airways £112.20 08.04.10

15.03.10 Heathrow Express SFI Editorial Board Meeting Heathrow Rail Link £32.00 08.04.10
16.03.10 Overnight Accommodation SFI Editorial Board Meeting Royal Overseas League £110.64 08.04.10
18.03.10 Parking Fee, Edinburgh Airport SFI Editorial Board Meeting NCP Ltd £6.98 08.04.10
15.03.10 London Underground Ticket SFI Editorial Board Meeting TFL MFM £5.60 08.04.10
17.03 10 Return Rail Fair, Edinburgh - Dundee Strategic Review Group Meeting First Scot Rail £51.10 08.04.10
01.04.10 Lunch for 4 people Meeting with Heriot Watt University Burts, Melrose £87.24 08.04.10
16.05.10 Overnight Accommodation Historic Silver Arrow Shoot Tontine Hotel, Peebles £55.32 07.06.10
19.05.10 Magazine Subscription Reference Harvard Business Review £85.00 07.06.10
27.05.10 Magazine Subscription, 2years Reference £182.00 07.06.10
25.06.10 Evening Meal for 4 people COSLA Convention Uplawmuir Hotel, Glasgow £188.98 06.07.10
15.07.10 Reference Books Reference Amazon £12.49 05.08.10
09.08.10 Magazine Subscription Reference E Map Business Communications £140.00 06.09.10
16.08.10 Photographs from Local News Historical Interest J Press Scott .adv £2.58 06.09.10
16.08.10 Extra Copies Local Newspaper Historical Interest J Press Scott .adv £7.80 06.09.10
16.08.10 Extra Copies Local Newspaper Historical Interest J Press Scott .adv £7.80 06.09.10
06.09.10 Purchase of Government Paper Research Paypal Emerald £14.50 06.09.10
06.09.10 Membership Fee Corporate Credit Card Bank of Scotland £15.00 06.09.10
07.10.10 Annual Member Fee Solice Professional Membership Solice £398.00 04.11.10
08.10.10 Dinner for Visit for Overseas Dignatory Hospitality Burts, Melrose £121.74 04.11.10
21.10.10 Dinner for 5 people COSLA Convention Rupee Room, Ayre £105.06 04.11.10
22.10.10 B&B 1 Night Fairfield House, Ayre £75.75 04.11.10
26.10.10 Ticket Free Lecture Professional Lecture Usher Hall Box Office £5.75 04.11.10
Jan & Feb no spend
14.02.11 Day Attendance Conference Fee Solice Conference Solice £150.00 07.03.11
15.02.11 Security Key Store Office Equipment Amazon £19.99 07.03.11
21.02.11 Reference Book Reference Carrick Media £48.00 07.03.11
01.03.11 Magazine Subscription Reference Harvard Business Review £85.00 07.03.11
04.03.11 B&B 1 Night Solice Conference St. Michaels Inn, St. Andrews £54.17 07.03.11
Total £9,019


Anonymous said...

Greed and corruption throughout the politicians allows this kind of thing to happen where Councils can do as they please because no one is really watching them.

Anonymous said...

It'll turn out they all have them.Was this part of his salary or expenses? (I'm guessing not)

Anonymous said...

Yes I live in Galashiels and have to pay these wasters £200 a month Council Tax for what? just so they can go swanning off to Japan and posh London hotels.Christ no wonder Scotland wants independence but will all this crap stop if we ever get it?