Row over councillor's expenses

A Berwick town councillor has defended his actions after a row over expenses

Saturday, 23rd April 2016, 7:48 am
Alex Gibson

Coun Alex Gibson claimed expenses for a fact-finding trip to Morpeth he made with Coun Gordon McLean to learn more about its skate park.

Two claims were made, one for £58 and another for £12.60.

But Coun Georgina Hill questioned whether the trip was authorised because it was not agreed by committee.

Coun Gibson explained: “I have spoken to dozens of kids and the thing they want is a skate park. That was also shown when they were asked what they’d like to see in the town during Berwick 900.

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“I asked the town clerk’s permission and we went down to Morpeth on a fact-finding exercise.

“We saw the skate park, got some information and handed it into the town council offices. Nothing was hidden. I am sick of these accusations.”

Coun Hill maintained that proper procedure was not followed.

“Half the council is barely literate,” she added.

At this point, Coun McLean walked out of the meeting.

Mayor Hazel Bettison criticised Coun Hill’s conduct and said councillors were trying to do their best for the town.

The expenses claim was approved by members with abstensions from Coun Hill, Coun Catherine Seymour and Coun Paul Hodgson.