Friday, 20 March 2020

Glasgow. Equal Pay and Patronising Claptrap

As I said in March 2019, the Evening Times really shot itself in the foot by presenting a special Editor's (Equal Pay) Award as part of its 'Scotswoman of the Year 2018' event which was held in Glasgow this time last year.  

Regular readers will remember, of course, that the award was collected by the Council's Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, who has since resigned over the extravagant nature of some of her expenses claims which included the purchase of no less than 23 pairs of shoes. 

So I stand by my claim that this was 'patronising claptrap' on the part of the Council and the newspaper.

Because the real heroes of Glasgow's fight for equal pay were the low paid, predominantly women workers who stood up for their rights and went on strike in October 2018 after settlement negotiations with the Council had broken down. 


Patronising Presentation (18/03/19)

Well the Evening Times certainly stirred up a hornet's nest with its bizarre decision to present a special Equal Pay 'team award' to the Lord Provost of Glasgow City City Council last week.  

Here are some more Facebook and Twitter comments which highlight why this was a really dumb, insulting  idea.

Working class women in Glasgow are airbrushed from history. As an equality award is presented to the @LordProvostGCC in their name at an event they weren’t invited to, for a campaign the fought and won. #SWOTY #EqualPayGlasgow


We think it is absolutely shocking that the paper handed this award to the employer. 8000 women went on strike to fight for what they were due and they are being airbrushed out of their own fight. The Lord Provost cannot collect an award *on behalf* of our members.

Glasgow GMB

Be ashamed Glasgow City Council + Evening Times Colluders


Where was the Lord Provost on our march for equal pay?



Well said Mark x


Thanx mark had to be told shocking


It’s a nice gesture that this award is in recognition of all of us .. we ARE deserving of it after the battle we’ve just had ..(not to mention the wages etc that some of us lost !)
The recipient of it was a strange choice, wonder who chose her to accept it?
BUT well done everyone who participated in the battle men included, we don’t need an Evening Times Award to be proud of ourselves though!!


This is absolutely disgusting
This woman had nothing to do with this
Feel almost sick


Anything for a free night out !!


Complain to Evening Times !!! I did


Why did she agree to accept it in the first place when she did not even attend any of the rallys or take anything to do with the equal pay?

All trying to jump on the band wagon where was she on the days of our strike I don't remember seeing her ...we know who the real stars are and its defo not her


I'm with you S - she done sod all to help us. Totally disgusting and why did Evening Times allow her to collect it?


This is quite something. The dispute in question was won by 8000 women going on strike AGAINST the council. The paper in question ran a front page implying those women were endangering vulnerable people by doing so. Plaudits off the back of erasing working class women, again.


We never voted for her we voted for Frances Mowat Stojilkovic for this award I’m raging that’s she has taken the glory 


Why she wasn’t embarrassed to accept that award on our behalf I will never know


Shocking she actually had the brass neck to actually accept this disgusting 😡


If you ask me, the Evening Times has shot itself in the foot by presenting this award to a representative of the City Council. 

Yet it could all have been so different had the newspaper bothered to consult Glasgow's Equal Pay Claimants and their representatives - A4ES, GMB and Unison.

After all the Lord Provost didn't turn up to collect the award by accident it's pretty obvious that there had to be some prior discussion and careful planning involved. 


Patronising Claptrap! (15/03/19)

The Evening Times had a special editor's award at its SWOTY 2018 event last night which was collected by the City Council's Lord Provost on behalf of 'all the women involved' in Glasgow's historic fight for equal pay.

Now I have nothing against Councillor Bolander, but if this award was intended to recognise the determination of the Glasgow Claimants, how difficult would it have been to organise a group of Glasgow's equal pay campaigners to be present on the night?

Frances Stojilkovic springs to mind, for obvious reasons and there are many others to mention in dispatches as well including: Shona Thomson, Jennifer McCarey, Rhea Wolfson and Hazel Nolan - to name just a few.

So the way the newspaper has gone about this seems extremely patronising if you ask me, since any 'team award' should have been presented to a group representing the Claimants - not someone representing the same Council employer which the Claimants had to battle for years.

And here are some of the early comments I've read via Facebook which seem to agree! 

Don’t remember the lord provost on any of our marches .. what a hypocrite.. and it only took her 13yrs to twig on we are deserving 


Where was she during our strike? Did she send a message of solidarity to support us? I never even heard of her!!!....


She was the one driving the Roller!


What a bloody cheek ! There should’ve been only one person picking up that award and we all know it should’ve been Frances Mowat Stojilkovic!


What a bloody cheek 


Absolute cheek crawling out the woodwork to collect this , only one person deserves this and that's Frances Mowat Stojilkovic, what a brass neck


Big Joke x 


Shocking we all know who should have picked up this award Frances Mowat Stojilkovic


Glasgow - Spending Public Money (09/10/19)

Glasgow City Council is making the news headlines again with a great scoop by Paul Hutcheon in the Daily Record focusing on the extravagant expenses claims of the Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, whose council salary in 2018/19 was reported as £41,545.96.

Now the first thing to say is that 'civic heads' (including provosts) are entitled to claim legitimate expenses which help them to carry out their civic duties.

But it's also fair to say that Glasgow's SNP Lord Provost has gone too far in submitting claims for things that have surely nothing to do with her role as a civic head.

Why would she claim for designer spectacles at £358, for example, or 23 pairs of shoes, or five coats, especially as the Lord Provost is chauffeur driven everywhere - sometimes in the City Council's nearly new Rolls Royce, of course.

So while everyone has had a great laugh at the news of the Lord Provost claiming her knickers on council expenses, the serious side to this whole affair is that the Scottish Government abolished the independent body (SLARC) which used to monitor and oversee councillors salaries and expenses.

SLARC (Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee) no longer exists and was effectively disbanded by the SNP's  Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, in 2013 so the following quote in the Daily Record article from a Glasgow City Council spokesperson is just plain wrong. 

“The national committee that oversees councillors’ pay recognises that the requirement to represent their city at hundreds of events means Lord Provosts often incur personal expenses."

I know this because I was a serving member of SLARC for several years and there is absolutely no way this kind of abuse and extravagance would be taking place in 2019, if the SLARC Committee was still in place with its advisory, monitoring and oversight role.

The real problem, if you ask me, is the lack of common sense and independent scrutiny because the SLARC scheme is and always has been an expenses scheme - it is not an 'allowance' which civic heads are entitled to spend.  

More to follow tomorrow.


Glasgow's Lord Provost billed taxpayer for 23 pairs of shoes during £8000 spending spree

Eva Bolander also claimed for six jackets, five coats, underwear and a £200 hat with critics branding the SNP councillor 'Imelda Marcos'.

Glasgow's Lord Provost billed taxpayer for 23 pairs of shoes during £8000 spending spree (Image: Daily Record/PA)
By Paul Hutcheon - The Daily Record

Glasgow's Lord Provost billed the taxpayer for 23 pairs of shoes as part of an £8000 spending spree on clothing and beauty products.

Eva Bolander, an SNP councillor, also claimed for six jackets, five coats, underwear and a £200 hat made by a designer used by supermodel Kate Moss.

She handed in receipts for make-up, £751 of haircuts, glasses worth £358 and pampering that included getting her toenails painted.

Martin McElroy, a Labour councillor in the city, last night hit out at the extravagant spending spree. He likened shoe-loving Bolander to Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines who had more than 1000 pairs of shoes.

He said: “These expenses claims are an absolute disgrace. We need an urgent review of the Lord Provost’s spending and maximum 

“At a time when services are being cut, Glaswegians will not understand why their Lord Provost believes it is appropriate to charge the taxpayer for kitting herself out with a new wardrobe.

“Claiming for more than 20 pairs of shoes is frankly incredible. Does she think she is Imelda Marcos?”

Glasgow City Council Lord Provost Eva Bolander has come under fire for buying 23 pairs of shoes(Image: PA)
The Lord Provost chairs council meetings, represents the local authority on ceremonial occasions and receives ambassadors to the city. A civic allowance helps her fulfil public duties.

Swedish-born Bolander – who represents a council ward that includes Anderston and Yorkhill – became the first EU national to be chosen as the city’s first citizen.

Her predecessor, Sadie Docherty, made no charge on the public purse between May 2015 and May 2017 but Bolander has claimed for more than 150 items.

Hundreds of local authority staff have been laid off in recent years and the council is facing court action after being accused of illegally denying temporary accommodation to homeless applicants.

Between May 2017 and August 2019, Bolander claimed £1150 for 23 pairs of shoes, £665 for five coats, up to £374 for six jackets and nearly £415 for eight pairs of trousers.

The taxpayer was also charged £389 for two sets of fabric – expensive Harris Tweed – and about £992 for 14 dresses and £435 for seven blazers. Four skirts cost the public purse about £143, a blouse came in at £55 and unidentifiable items cost £824.

How £8000 spending spree was made up

23 pairs of shoes - £1150

5 coats - £665

6 jackets – up to £374.50

8 trousers - up to £415

14 dresses - up to £992

7 blazers - £435

Underwear - £152

Make-up - £66

10 haircuts – £751

20 nail treatments – £479

Jacket fabric – £389

Hosiery – £145

4 skirts – £143

1 blouse – £55

5 shirts– £103

Misc – £824

Watch – £16.99

Spectacles – £358

2 hats – £240

Sunglasses – £29.99

3 bags – up to £147.17

Gloves- £11.98

Scarf - £17.50

Jewellery - £14.98

Suitcase – £65

Bolander also got her nails done 20 times in two years and treated herself to 10 taxpayer-funded haircuts to the tune of over £751. Make-up cost £66.75.

Other items included a pair of sunglasses at £29.99, a £16.99 watch, three bags worth about £147, gloves, a £65 suitcase and a scarf.

The most expensive items were £358 spectacles, followed by a £200 hat from milliner William Chambers. Celebrities who have worn the award-winning designer’s hats include Moss, Extras comedy star Ashley Jensen and singer Roisin Murphy.

Judy Murray also commissioned a Chambers hat to wear at her tennis star son Andy’s wedding.

Another big-ticket item was £200 for a “bespoke” coat, which had an “art panel” on the back.

She also claimed £308 for two pairs of shoes – navy suede and black leather – from Watford-based Sole Bliss on the same day. By contrast, the school clothing grant is £110 for a child from a low-income family.

Glasgow's Lord Provost Eva Bolander has claimed for more than 150 items (Image: DAILY RECORD)Bolander’s favourite shop for a retail splurge was John Lewis, where she spent more than £500 in one day on shoes, a blazer, trousers, a top and a dress. Her claims for hosiery added £145 to a bill that totalled £8224 over two years.

The council deducted £7.70 from one claim due to “budgetary restrictions”.

Some of the information in the receipts was withheld on the grounds that the individual concerned would not “expect their personal details to be released”.

The Lord Provost was embroiled in controversy last year after it emerged that a Rolls-Royce had been gifted to the council by an unnamed benefactor, later revealed as businessman Boyd Tunnock.

After receiving the gift on behalf of the council, Bolander said at the time: “I want Glasgow to show its best face to the world and this gift will help us do that. It’s a show-stopping car and a tremendous asset.”

On of the expenses receipts show the Lord Provost spent £189 on Harris Tweed (Image: Daily Record)The Glasgow SNP manifesto promised changes to the council, which was previously run by Labour. One section featured a quote from Bolander: “The SNP will bring transparency, openness and accessibility to Glasgow’s democratic life and the way the council carries out its business.”

A council spokesman said: “The national committee that oversees councillors’ pay recognises that the requirement to represent their city at hundreds of events means Lord Provosts often incur personal expenses.

“For that reason, the Scottish Government allocates a civic allowance to each council. For Glasgow City Council, this is subject to a yearly maximum of £5000.”