Wycombe Labour today accused Councillor Scott, ex-Leader of Wycombe District Council and Tory Councillor for Marlow South East, of telling falsehoods in the run-up to the district elections this year in an attempt to influence voters in a marginal ward. Wycombe Labour also accused Councillor Maz Hussain of colluding in those falsehoods.
Councillors Scott and Hussain failed to correct those falsehoods allowing public expenditure to be incurred by another statutory body on the basis of those falsehoods.
Councillor Scott also kept back £490 in WDC reserves instead of sending it to Scannappeal, hoping to spend the money on a road sign and a dog bin rather than advanced medical equipment for local patients.
Wycombe Labour called for Councillors Scott and Hussain to resign from WDC.
Wycombe Labour’s statement says “Before the district elections in May, the Tories were desperate to win seats in Disraeli which is a marginal ward. They were desperate to get Councillor Maz Hussain, the Tory Councillor for Disraeli, re-elected.
The Tories made a number of statements during the election campaign to persuade Disraeli voters that Councillor Hussain could deliver for Disraeli. This is perfectly acceptable campaigning tactics.
What is not acceptable however is that some of these statements were not true.
For example, Tories told Disraeli residents that Councillor Hussain had spent his ward budget on six road signs to mark Disraeli’s boundaries and would get them erected. This was not true.
Moreover, the Tories then did everything they could to get the signs erected, including telling falsehoods, and despite advice from Transport for Bucks (TfB) that such signs are not authorised by the law.
So desperate were the Tories to get TfB to erect a road sign in Disraeli before the election that Councillor Scott wrote to TfB (on 5 February) to protest when TfB deferred erecting the sign and demanded that the sign be erected before the end of March.
So desperate were the Tories that Councillor Scott told TfB that the proposal had been agreed by WDC, that it was a matter for WDC’s ward budget scheme and that the funds requested by Councillor Maz Hussain had followed the appropriate policies, as agreed by WDC officers, and applied accordingly.
None of this was true. Councillor Hussain had not made any application for funding (and the deadline for applications for the ward budgets was in any case December 2014). WDC could not therefore have approved the sign. Councillor Scott should have known this as he was responsible for approving the funding.
This e-mail was copied to Councillor Hussain and he too should have known this was a falsehood.
So desperate were the Tories that Councillor Scott repeated this falsehood to TfB on 9 February when he demanded to know who had made the decision not to erect the sign.
So desperate were the Tories that Councillor Scott told a TfB official on 13 February that BCC had approved the installation of the sign while telling Wycombe Labour a week later that the matter was still being investigated.
So was he telling a falsehood to TfB or to Wycombe Labour?
So desperate were the Tories that Councillor Scott instructed WDC officials in March to keep the ward budget for Councillor Hussain at the end of the financial year and not send it with the other unspent monies from other ward budgets to charity.
Even then Councillor Hussain had not applied for the money or indeed written one word about the sign to his colleagues within WDC.
This meant £490 that would have gone to Scannappeal was kept by WDC to pay for the sign (and a dog bin) on the basis that Councillor Hussain might eventually find time to fill in an application form.
So desperate were the Tories that neither Councillor Scott nor Councillor Hussain corrected the falsehoods. Neither told TfB that funding for the sign had not been approved. So TfB put up the sign on 18 May believing WDC would pay.
When Wycombe Labour queried this with WDC, the Head of WDC’s Democratic, Legal and Policy told TfB that WDC would not be paying and that the invoice should be sent to Councillor Hussain personally.
We do not know how much the work cost, if TFB has sent the invoice to Councillor Hussain or whether he has paid it. We are waiting for answers on this.
In fact, according to papers WDC has sent us as a result of a freedom of information request, even in May Councillor Hussain was looking to make a retrospective application for the funding – this from a man seemingly incapable of filling in an application form.
There are still questions to be answered by TfB and Bucks County Council, including why they put up a sign which is not authorised by the law.
However, we already know Councillor Scott told falsehoods to TfB in order to persuade it to deliver on Tory promises to Disraeli voters. This happened in a marginal seat during an election period. Councillor Hussain colluded in those falsehoods.
Residents might think that it is just a matter about a sign and a dog bin. But it’s not. It is about challenging totally unacceptable behaviour by people in public positions.
Were Councillors Scott and Hussain so incompetent that they were unaware they were telling falsehoods or were they deliberately lying for political advantage?
Either way, it raises legitimate questions about their integrity and fitness to hold public office. They should resign.”