Former Worcester Mayor in 'conflict of interest' row

Worcester News: Councillor Lucy Hodgson Councillor Lucy Hodgson

ONE of Worcester's best-known politicians is embroiled in a "conflict of interest" row surrounding huge cuts to trading standards in the county.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, a former city mayor, was elected to Worcestershire County Council last year and now sits in the Conservative cabinet.

The high-flier is also chairman of a special committee which oversees Worcestershire Regulatory Services, the county's version of trading standards which tackles issues like dodgy restaurants, crooked off-licenses and 'Del Boy' style market sellers.

This year the money it is getting from the county council plunged by £700,000, taking it to a record low of just over £1 million.

Cllr Hodgson's cabinet role, called 'localism and communities', includes oversight for trading standards.

The Conservative leadership at County Hall is looking to save around £100 million by 2018 by slashing its spending.

During a full council meeting, Labour politician Councillor Richard Udall said: "Should she actually be doing both roles, is there not a conflict of interest here?

"Trading standards is facing big cuts to its budget, cuts she caused as the cabinet member.

"You can't cut one day and then protest about it the next."

During the criticism Cllr Hodgson admitted she had been asked about a potential conflict of interest "on a number of occasions", but defended her position.

The chairmanship of the joint committee overseeing Worcestershire Regulatory Services expires annually, meaning she will step down in June for someone else to take over.

She said: "Clash of interest? It's a question that has been asked of me on a number of occasions, and the answer is no there isn't.

"At no time have I said my role has been compromised (at the county council), I see them as going side-by-side. I have no problems in that role."

During the debate she also won support from Conservative Councillor Marc Bayliss, who said the budget is "set by full council" rather than individuals.

The council wants to reduce the funding it gives Worcestershire Regulatory Services 85 per cent by 2017, by which time it will be just £250,000.

The body, which also gets funding from the six district councils in Worcestershire, has a budget of around £3 million.

Its activities extend as far as tackling noisy neighbours, keeping a register of small traders and awareness of doorstep crime.

Comments (7)

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4:49pm Fri 30 May 14

Hwicce says...

If we had a Unitary Council we wouldn't have this problem.

We'd also have a lot less Councillors and waste a lot less money having all the elections that nobody votes at.
If we had a Unitary Council we wouldn't have this problem. We'd also have a lot less Councillors and waste a lot less money having all the elections that nobody votes at. Hwicce
  • Score: 12

5:04pm Fri 30 May 14

3thinker says...

Hwicce wrote:
If we had a Unitary Council we wouldn't have this problem.

We'd also have a lot less Councillors and waste a lot less money having all the elections that nobody votes at.
Excellent point to make Hwicce.

A Unitary Authority for Worcestershire makes perfect sense.

By cutting the number of councillors, senior managers and all the unnecessary bureaucracy and posturing that goes with it savings could be made to save more front line and vital services.

Unfortunately I doubt the councillors will let it happen. They seem to prefer sacking and cutting services to protect their own positions.

Rather than undermine local democracy a Unitary Authority would make it much clearer who was responsible for what service and make it easier to hold the councillors that are left accountable.
[quote][p][bold]Hwicce[/bold] wrote: If we had a Unitary Council we wouldn't have this problem. We'd also have a lot less Councillors and waste a lot less money having all the elections that nobody votes at.[/p][/quote]Excellent point to make Hwicce. A Unitary Authority for Worcestershire makes perfect sense. By cutting the number of councillors, senior managers and all the unnecessary bureaucracy and posturing that goes with it savings could be made to save more front line and vital services. Unfortunately I doubt the councillors will let it happen. They seem to prefer sacking and cutting services to protect their own positions. Rather than undermine local democracy a Unitary Authority would make it much clearer who was responsible for what service and make it easier to hold the councillors that are left accountable. 3thinker
  • Score: 17

5:52pm Fri 30 May 14

CJH says...

Is 'high-flier' the phrase of the week at WN Towers? That's the second report in the last couple of days to use that label without apparent reason.
Is 'high-flier' the phrase of the week at WN Towers? That's the second report in the last couple of days to use that label without apparent reason. CJH
  • Score: 11

11:55pm Fri 30 May 14

Jabbadad says...

I think we could imagine how or why the high Flyers get into these positions anyway.
It seems that you might show a willingness to carry out without question Slash & Burn policies, and fully support Worcesters little Emperor , who in return will find you a safe seat even where many of the voters have never heard of you, or even if you have changed your long held political beleifs, and then into a position of special responsibilities which of course dramatically increases the income by £10,000 per year and more , so in terms of income you get a good, very part-time, job frequently with an income of around £20,000 and more.
I think we could imagine how or why the high Flyers get into these positions anyway. It seems that you might show a willingness to carry out without question Slash & Burn policies, and fully support Worcesters little Emperor , who in return will find you a safe seat even where many of the voters have never heard of you, or even if you have changed your long held political beleifs, and then into a position of special responsibilities which of course dramatically increases the income by £10,000 per year and more , so in terms of income you get a good, very part-time, job frequently with an income of around £20,000 and more. Jabbadad
  • Score: 12

7:01am Sat 31 May 14

green49 says...

Surprise surprise supported by Mr Bayliss??? i have asked this question before about this CON sevative conflict of interest and as usual they all cover each others backs, you wont get them to change or resign etc until they are pushed,

I have never been impressed with Mrs Hodgson, late for meetings, hypocrite, arrogant attitude aswell, but then thats the qualification so called carear politicians these ays it seems,
Surprise surprise supported by Mr Bayliss??? i have asked this question before about this CON sevative conflict of interest and as usual they all cover each others backs, you wont get them to change or resign etc until they are pushed, I have never been impressed with Mrs Hodgson, late for meetings, hypocrite, arrogant attitude aswell, but then thats the qualification so called carear politicians these ays it seems, green49
  • Score: 14

8:34am Sat 31 May 14

ringthembells says...

CJH wrote:
Is 'high-flier' the phrase of the week at WN Towers? That's the second report in the last couple of days to use that label without apparent reason.
Icarus was a high flier. It used to be a term associated with people who do not listen to advice and think they know best. Hence the adjective "high flown" to describe grandiose or delusional schemes.
So it could be appropriate when describing certain local politicians after all ...
[quote][p][bold]CJH[/bold] wrote: Is 'high-flier' the phrase of the week at WN Towers? That's the second report in the last couple of days to use that label without apparent reason.[/p][/quote]Icarus was a high flier. It used to be a term associated with people who do not listen to advice and think they know best. Hence the adjective "high flown" to describe grandiose or delusional schemes. So it could be appropriate when describing certain local politicians after all ... ringthembells
  • Score: 8

11:12am Sat 31 May 14

CJH says...

ringthembells wrote:
CJH wrote:
Is 'high-flier' the phrase of the week at WN Towers? That's the second report in the last couple of days to use that label without apparent reason.
Icarus was a high flier. It used to be a term associated with people who do not listen to advice and think they know best. Hence the adjective "high flown" to describe grandiose or delusional schemes.
So it could be appropriate when describing certain local politicians after all ...
Excellent answer, although I think it will come as a surprise to whoever wrote this article!
[quote][p][bold]ringthembells[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CJH[/bold] wrote: Is 'high-flier' the phrase of the week at WN Towers? That's the second report in the last couple of days to use that label without apparent reason.[/p][/quote]Icarus was a high flier. It used to be a term associated with people who do not listen to advice and think they know best. Hence the adjective "high flown" to describe grandiose or delusional schemes. So it could be appropriate when describing certain local politicians after all ...[/p][/quote]Excellent answer, although I think it will come as a surprise to whoever wrote this article! CJH
  • Score: 5

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