Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Allowances

A councillor remuneration report commissioned by Cornwall's Conservative led administration has been published and recommends an increase in the basic allowance to £14,600 from the current level of £12,000. Council Leader Alec Roberston is set to get a £7k rise taking into account all the different allowances he is entitled to - he will get a total of £44,605 a year.

Back in June, the Liberal Democrats made a manifesto commitment not to raise allowances for the four years of this council. We proposed a motion to put this into effect soon after the new council started work only to be voted down by a combination of Conservatives and Independents.

Now the report has been published, I cannot say that I have changed my view. For all that I believe that my colleagues (of all parties) do a great job representing their constituents and working long hours, I don't think that we can justify putting more taxpayers money into our own pockets. Particularly not when local families and businesses are struggling in the recession.

The report has divided opinion among the other groups on the Council. Independent Councillor Andrew Wallis has already blogged saying that he thinks the increase should be accepted. I don't agree, but recognise that he has been consistent in his position on the issue. I suspect that there will be many independents who will take the same view.

Steve Double, a Conservative Councillor has produced a blog saying that he doesn't think that the rise can be taken. I'm glad that at least one Conservative has come over to our way of thinking on this issue, but am a bit disappointed that it took six months to get there.

The Lib Dems have consistently opposed a rise and we voted against holding what we thought was a pointless review.

Steve voted in favour of the independent review but now wishes to reject its findings. My question to him and any of his colleagues who think the same is this - why set up a review only to reject what it says? Surely this isn't because there is a general election around the corner?

UPDATE - Contrary to the headline here, this issue is still very much to be decided!

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