Back in December, Times on-line ran a story concerning Norwich council official Kristine Reeves, earning £52,000-a-year as head of neighbourhood and strategic housing, who played a key role in evicting old and frail tenants from their bungalows. She then moved into one of the bungalows herself – with her partner, a senior housing official. She charged herself a subsidised rent of £47.00 per week – considerably less than other elderly tenants were expected to find from their pensions.
Reeves was just one of 18 council employees who moved into the sheltered housing at Greyhound Opening on the west of Norwich. Around twenty-five older people were moved out under plans to replace their homes with 100 flats and houses.
After a comfortable month for Ms Reeve of sitting at home on full pay, the council have finally acted in response to the widespread disgust at these antics. Following an internal disciplinary hearing, she was today dismissed for gross misconduct. A statement issued by the city council stated:
“As a result of a disciplinary hearing held today, Kristine Reeves, head of neighbourhood and strategic housing, has been dismissed without notice. Council leader Steve Morphew today said Ms Reeves’s decision to move into the flat in Greyhound Opening had been “an abuse of her position”.
Is ‘an abuse of her position’ not ‘misconduct in a public office’? Damian Green merely received information – not a material benefit.
Today we also learn that some of Britain’s top civil servants and quango chiefs are receiving lucrative perks as annual ‘housing allowances’ worth many thousands of pounds from the taxpayer. The Sunday Times tells us that David Nicholson, the head of the NHS, claims an annual £37,600 allowance for working away from home – yet he was already working and living in London when he took the job three years ago, so did not have to relocate. Nicholson was head of NHS London, and had a flat in the centre of the city, when he was moved to his highly paid London-based post in charge of the National Health Service in 2006.
Labour stands accused of increasing public sector employment to ensure votes – are they also providing cheap roofs over their voters head’s?