Wirral Council Leader won’t let cuts / austerity / lack of funds get in the way of a sumptuous far east visit

davies-and-anderson-trip-to-china

5th December 2016

Leader Phil Davies recently accompanied Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson on an autumn junket to the far east – for two whole weeks – beginning on Saturday 22nd October 2016.

After a timely tip-off – which came in as early as 16th September – we thought we’d attempt to grab a portion of Davies’ oft-professed “Openness and Transparency” by lodging an FOI request asking for some details, mainly around how much public money was ultimately being spent, and in what areas – as is our statutory right.

Back in September 2009 we were cynically banned from doing this, with our FOI and data protection querying rights stripped away.  But we’ve made up for that lost 20 months in the wilderness by lodging quite a few more after having our rights restored in 2011.  This is a screen grab from the excellent WhatDoTheyKnow website:

total-of-foi-requests

 


The China request

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/senior_staff_member_visits_to_ch

china-oct-2016-foi-request

The query was answered in two parts, with the first bit coming back on 14th October 2016, eight days prior to lift-off.

part-1-answer-to-wirral-china-foi-request

We then waited for the council to come good with the rest of the information.  But this didn’t happen so we prodded them on 12th November – shortly after the two brave wayfarers had spent all the cash and returned to Blighty.  However the information took almost a further three weeks to arrive, with no apology for the delay:

part-2-answer-to-wirral-china-foi-request


Outcome

The total costs in public money for Councillor Phil Davies’ China visit were:

Total cost of leader’s flight:    £627.72

Total cost of internal flights:  £1,175

Total cost of accommodation: £1,588.25

Total cost of expenses:             £102.76

Grand Total:                              £3,493.73

 


So the cost to the Wirral public of accommodating Phil in the comfort to which he is accustomed outstripped the cost to the Wirral public of delivering Phil safely to the landing strip tarmac…

And this is not exactly good reading when you consider that this council leader frequently trots out a tiresome litany of excuses such as “lack of funds” or “central government cuts”or “austerity”as reasons why his organisation can’t fulfil their basic statutory obligations to look after vulnerable citizens – or the people who drew the short straw by being unfortunate enough to find themselves domiciled within the boundaries of an abusive, deceitful, basket case council.  A council where the CEO, Eric Robinson, was one of the few people to buck the miserable trend by netting a £45,000 pay rise soon after arrival.

But let’s finish on a brighter note with a pictorial tour of the five luxury hotels that the deceitful Council Leader and the intrepid Mayor of Liverpool enjoyed, all on you dear reader, all on you.

Now… as we dig over the finer detail, we begin to appreciate exactly why the cost of expensive long haul flights took a back seat in the race to meet Phil and Joe’s domestic demands i.e. where they chose to eat, to drink, to spend their downtime, to enjoy the local nightlife and to stretch out their tired, emotional, prostrate, sleeping forms.

Although this two-week sojourn was presented to us as “council business”, something familiar to “council business” was missing.  The customary  lack of funds / austerity / central gov cuts elements were not permitted to intrude upon Phil and Joe’s enjoyment of the local facilities – you may be deeply disturbed and disgusted to hear:

Kunming Green Lake Hotel, Kunming

kunming-green-lake-hotel-china

screenshot_2016-12-14-18-37-08-1

 

“Tell yer what Phil, lad. I could phukken retire here, laahhhh.”

 

Sample review: I truly loved the Green Lake Hotel. Situated across from Green Lake, this hotel is a great combination of old world class and new world amenities. In the morning, out front, you really don’t want to miss the group of people doing Tai Chi. They are really great. The rooms were spacious, and include the baseline of things I need to like a room: a comfy bed, a safe and a refrigerator. Otherwise, they were well appointed with nice bedding, a lot pillows, a chair or two and a lot of places to stow your luggage. The Green Lake Hotel had a wonderful bathroom, that included a TV at the tub. We really liked that there was a screen between the bathroom and the room, so you could either look into the room from the tub…or not. The bathroom also came with more amenities than any other hotel room I have checked into, including condoms — oh my! The staff was lovely! Admittedly they don’t have much English – {Some visiting English luminaries don’t have much English either… Ed} but they do try, and we never experienced bad service due to their limited English. In fact a couple of times, we used a member of the front desk staff to act as interpreters.

Intercontinental Chongqing

intercontinental-chongqing

screenshot_2016-12-14-18-37-08-1

 

“Phukk meee, Philly laaahhh, dat rivvaz nirlly as wide as da Mirrzzeee.”

Sample review: From the moment I arrived customer service was second to none. Absolutely brilliant! The reception area beautifully maintained. Easy check in and offered help with bags – something that doesn’t always happen in China.

Large room, very good value for money. Again, beautifully maintained.

Used the swimming pool and spa. Again, lovely polite girl showed me round and helped me purchase a swim hat.

Breakfast buffet perfect. Lots of variety and plenty of steaming hot tea and coffee

Would defiantly recommend

Shangri-La Hotel, Jianguo, Beijing

shangri-la-hotel-jianguo

screenshot_2016-12-14-18-37-08-1

 

“Jeeezus mate.  If me ahld girrl cud see me now. Ha ha!!  Dat reception’s like summat off Bladerunner, laaah.”

Sample review: This was my first trip to Beijing , China and the quality of the stay and the service at the Shangri La, definitely enhanced my experience, Its a beautiful property. The lobby is huge and beautifully decorated (specially the flower arrangements), and can be a nice place to relax in the evenings, with live music going on. The rooms are thoughtfully furnished and very comfortable. The staff are attentive without being obtrusive. The concierge was very helpful in providing directions to various places of interest, and also making reservations for us at the nearby Haidi Low. Overall a feeling of comfort blending into luxury!

Holiday Inn, Qingdao

holiday-inn-qingdao

screenshot_2016-12-14-18-37-08-1

“Eh, soft lad.  I’ve bagzeed da window side o’ dat bed.  An’ I’m senior, so forget it kid… an’ keep yer cold feet off me phukken back.”

Sample review: 1. The hotel is follow the Holiday Inn style and give me a pleasant atmosphere which can relax myself easily, especially after a hard work.

2.The room is clean and comfortable.
3. The transportation is quite convenient. i can take a work to the sea side easily. Also can get to other place quickly.
4.The service is wonderful and full of passion. it makes me good emotions everyday. I want to emphasize the executive club service is marvelous and make me a feeling like stay at home. Especially deeply thanks to Tera, Vicky and Kyra’s great effort.

Hotel Equatorial, Shanghai

hotel-equatorial-shanghai

screenshot_2016-12-14-18-37-08-1

 

“Eh yoo.  Dat’s phukken mine.  Der’s da blower, laaah. Ring fer yer friggin’ own.”

 

Sample review: The hotel itself is typical for a hotel serving the international clientele. Very friendly staff (more about that below), great food, comfortable rooms with great views, and all the rest of it, as my British wife would say. The Hilton Hotel is the next building over, and I cannot comment on the size of Hilton’s rooms, but I can on the size of their windows, and Equatorial’s windows are much larger than Hilton’s. Make of that what you will.

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
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