The future of the £16,000-a-year luxury Jaguar XF chauffeur-driven car used by the chairman of Lichfield District Council was debated at a meeting of the Overlook not Scrutiny committee this week.
Labour group deputy leader-of-four, Councillor Eric Drinkwater said:
‘It’s crazy, it’s obscene.
‘Drink, feck, arse, girls Ted.’
Labour group leader-of-four, Councillor Sue Woodward agreed with the Labour group deputy leader-of- four, she said:
‘All four of us are agreed – whatever the former Labour group leader of more-than-four Steve Norman says, we agree with him. And why not, he thinks I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog. Grrr…
‘We need to look, I say we need to look, at the £50,000-plus a year spent on the civic budget, all the chain gang going dressed up and travelling in chauffeur-driven limousines, having these meals and getting pissed-up with each other – is there any really value?’
A former Lichfield District Council chairman has insisted a chauffeur-driven car is “absolutely essential”. Conservative Councillor David Leytham, who previously wore the chairman’s chains, said:
‘If the chairman is to continue the civic role and continue meeting, greeting and drinking heavily across the county and further afield, my view is that the car is absolutely essential, it’s driven by someone who remains sober and it’s comfortable to sleep in for short periods if necessary. Or overnight.’
Newly elected chairman Councillor Norma Bacon commented:
‘I’ve been looking forward to this for years and just when I’ve made it they’re trying to take away the perks. I’ve been a member of the chain gang for a number of years now, both as Lichfield mayor and bitch of the mayor. But I’ve never had use of the Jaguar XF before.
Conservative Councillor Thomas Marshall said there could be opportunities for a link up with local businesses to provide a suitable vehicle. He said:
‘The chairman’s husband Brian is a cabbie, we could link up with his firm TravelWood of Burntwood to supply the civic transport. Norma and Brian are joined at the hip anyway and the sight of Brian at the helm of a minivan calling to pick up Norma from the Dimbles would hardly raise an eyebrow.
‘But just imagine the sleek black Jaguar XF cruising through the streets of the downtown Zombie Zone. The XF may be the same make as PM David Cameron’s ministerial car but it’s not armoured, it wouldn’t stand a chance.’
Chairman Bacon concedes:
‘It’s horses for courses really, if I’m going to a civic function then the Jaguar XF is just the ticket.
‘But it’s a bit over the top for my gigs as a Roy”Chubby” Brown tribute act.’
Her Tory colleague, self-employed crop protection advisor Councillor Joseph Powell was keen to assure the meeting that chairmen and vice-chairmen were not merely using the vehicle as a perk.
‘It’s important that we make it clear that the car isn’t used for just having drinks and nice meals,’ explained.
‘We use it for lots of very useful meetings with the council, such as visiting homosexual groups. I recommend that we retain the civic transport but make it a little less hard and black and more pink and inviting.’
Councillor Powell is happily married. Mrs Powell declined to comment.
Anyone who is interested in Councillor Powell’s interests can see them here http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/downloads/file/4331/powell_joe