Thursday February 27 2020



In Full . . .

All in this together?

Posted on April 21 2012 at 12:37:00

Britain is facing its biggest financial crisis for a generation. The banking crisis of 2008, the credit crunch, the harshest austerity measures for many years, cuts in public expenditure and services, job losses in both the private and public sectors, rising youth unemployment, the closure of large and small business and freezing and actual cuts in wages and salaries.

Against this background, what do Bromsgrove district councillors do? They award themselves an increase of 14.25 per cent in their basic allowances and other allowances, including an eye-watering 98 per cent increase in the allowance for the Chairman of the Licensing Committee.

This is despite the recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Panel that there should be no increases in the basic and special responsibility allowances this year and that there should be reductions in the special responsibility allowances for the Leader of the Council and the Chairmen of the Planning and Licensing Committees.

Other local councils in the area and the Worcestershire County Council have decided not to give themselves any increases in their allowances this year. But not Bromsgrove.

The Conservatives in collusion with Labour – they abstained in the vote – decided to help themselves to an estimated additional £23,000 of council tax payers’ money on top of the £250,000 they already claim in allowances each year. Surely this cannot be justified in the present economic climate?

The new allowances are £4,200 basic allowance for every councillor, plus an additional £12,600 for the leader of the council, £8,400 for the deputy leader and £5,460 each for the cabinet members, the chairmen of the planning and licensing committees and the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

When there was a small number of Independent councillors on the council and the Conservatives and Labour members wanted large increases in their allowances, the Independents managed to ensure the increases were limited to no more than inflation or the increases in staff salaries.

In 2010 there was only a 1 per cent increase in members allowances.

The Government keeps telling us: “We are all in this together.” All, it seems, except the councillors in Bromsgrove.

Martin Richardson, Bromsgrove

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