Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lib Dem - Councillor on Fraud Charge

Linda Rhodes-Clayton
Linda Rhodes-Clayton

A LEEDS councillor claimed £8,000 in benefits illegally, a court heard.
Linda Rhodes-Clayton (Lib Dem, Hyde Park & Woodhouse) claimed the cash for more than a year after she was elected in June 2004, even though she was receiving up to £13,000 a year Leeds City Council allowance.

She allegedly swindled £5,298 in income support, £2,445 in housing benefit and £678 in council tax benefit between June 2004 and October 2005, despite strict rules banning councillors from claiming benefits.
The 55-year-old, of St Wilfrid's Avenue, Gipton, received a basic allowance of £9,576 in her first financial year as a councillor and £13,445 in her second.
Prosecuting, Laura Addy told Leeds magistrates that Rhodes-Clayton had failed to declare that she was a councillor on any benefit forms.
Rhodes-Clayton, who denies two counts of benefit fraud, was suspended from the Lib Dems in August last year.
The court heard her deception was uncovered in November 2005 when computers were searched for benefits claimants who were also on the council payroll.
She was interviewed by the DWP, but failed to attend a second interview in March 2006 and refused to take part in any further questioning.
The councillor, who says a parachute accident left her with leg and spine injuries, started claiming income support in 2003.

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