We have all been so busy concentrating on the corruption involving News International and the Metropolitan Police, happening in far off London town that a case of corruption far closer to home, whilst not as life changing, is certainly serious, and needs a good deal of further investigation.
John Holden, a Labour councillor on Highland Council, awaits sentencing having been found guilty of stealing £43,000 of Income Support from the London government and nearly £10,000 from his own council in council tax rebates (council tax benefit of £6,925 and single occupancy of more than £2,309).
Mr Holden had claimed that he lived alone, that he had no savings and that he had no job, whereas the truth was that he was living with his wife, had (and you’ll love this) savings of £200,000...which he claims to have saved in the period 2002 to 2008... and had his council salary of £16,000 pa which he had been drawing since his election in 2007.
It amazes me, but apparently it is true, that he may keep his position on Highland Council unless he is sent to prison. It seems that you can only be removed as a councillor if you are unable to do the job for some reason: in this case because you have been incarcerated.
The thing that I found most strange was that he had managed to save £200,000 in a period of 6 years. Given that his income during that period amounted to £53k in stolen benefits plus his salary as a councillor, unless his wife is a merchant banker, a lord, or a member of the royal family, I suspect that we might want to ask how exactly he managed to amass this substantial sum.
But as Granny would say “Everything’s mixed with mercy. It is indeed fortunately for the taxpayers that he did manage to make savings, because he will find it easy to make good the ‘proceeds of crime order’ that has been placed on him confiscating the cash he has stolen. And I’d be surprised if there were not substantial costs to pay.