Cash-strapped council who said they couldn’t afford care for a WW2 hero under fire for posting a £30k job advert – for the Mayor’s silver polisher

January 5, 2016 | by | 0 Comments

A cash-strapped council that denied care to a WW2 hero due to ‘budgetary restrictions’ has been blasted for advertising a £30K job – as a SILVER POLISHER.

Britain's oldest surviving prisoner of war, Robert Clark at his home in Burnt Oak, London (SWNS Group)

Britain’s oldest surviving prisoner of war, Robert Clark at his home in Burnt Oak, London (SWNS Group)

Brent Council has made almost £100 million worth of cuts and sparked outrage for the multi-purpose role which involves chauffeuring the mayor and polishing its silverware.

The son of one of Britain’s oldest prisoner of war camp survivors, who has been denied in-home care in the north London borough, struck out at the decision.

Critics have compared the role to like ”something from Downton Abbey”.

Local campaigner Sujata Aurora compared the post to ferry about the Labour mayor, Councillor Lesley Jones, to that of Tom Branson’s from the ITV aristocratic hit.

The 28-year-old said: “They are advertising for a chauffeur to polish the silverware, this is Brent not Downton Abbey.

“I think it reinforces the idea the politicians are maintaining their own perks while they impose austerity on their residents.”

She tweeted: “Brent Council is recruiting a mayor’s chauffeur. Job description includes polishing the silver. WTF is this, Downton Abbey?”

Councillor Lesley Jones the Mayor of Brent (SWNS Group)

Councillor Lesley Jones the Mayor of Brent (SWNS Group)

The job, for which applications closed on December 14, entails 36 hours a week and comes with a salary of between £25,000 and £29,999.

And one of the duties is “to keep the silver in the mayor’s parlour clean and polished” while the council attempts to cut £95million from its budget over four years.

Among those outraged at the council’s spending in a time of austerity is the son of a 97-year-old veteran denied publicly-funded in-home care.

Robert Clark, survived the Nazi death March in 1942 and was holed up in one of Hitler’s camps until 1945, but Brent insisted his care package is “not affordable”.

Son Mike, 59, of Harpenden, Hertfordshire, said: “I thought the days of chauffeuring were long gone.

“It sounds like something you would do in the 80s – I find that quite incredible.

“If my dad knew about it he would be amazed, he would think it’s a complete fallacy for him.

“My dad would find it insulting.

“All of the difficulty we have had with the council then they’ve not been at all supportive but they can find £30,000 to create a non-job.

“Whatever is wrong with public transport or driving themselves?”

Britain's oldest surviving prisoner of war, Robert Clark hands in the 38 degrees petition to Phil Porter, Brent Council’s Director of Adult Social Care (SWNS Group)

Britain’s oldest surviving prisoner of war, Robert Clark hands in the 38 degrees petition to Phil Porter, Brent Council’s Director of Adult Social Care (SWNS Group)

The online advert added that the “official chauffeur” would also be “mace-bearer” and applicants would need a clean driving licence, and the knowledge to maintain cars.

Harry Davis, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, criticised the spending as a “huge waste” of funds.

He said: “What a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.

“Residents will be rightly furious to find out that they are paying for the mayor’s personal driver and dresser just as council tax could be raised.

“In tough economic times councils should be tightening their belts, just as families are having to, not splurging on unnecessary jobs.”

A Brent Council spokesperson defended the role.

Robert Clark pictured in 1940 (SWNS Group)

Robert Clark pictured in 1940 (SWNS Group)

They said: “In common with councils across the country, Brent maintains the office of a civic mayor.

“The Mayor of Brent is the borough’s first citizen and rises above the party political fray for their year in office.

“The office of mayor is hugely valued by the people of Brent.

“The mayor carries out a vast array of charitable and community engagements, raising money for good causes and meeting thousands of local people, in addition to acting as an ambassador for the borough.

“This role provides essential support for the mayor.”

The current mayor of Brent is Labour councillor Lesley Jones.

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