Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Cornwall Conservatives should repay £9k wasted on pointless allowances review

Cornwall Council has told me the cost of the independent review of councillors allowances - a review whose findings were ignored and the expense of which could have been avoided had a Lib Dem motion to freeze allowances been accepted back in July.

In response to a question by me, officers have revealed that the costs included:

IRP Panel Members £6,893.16

The other costs are from within existing resources:

Staff hours:

  • approx 95 hours (including meetings, preparation, research/analysis, report preparation)

Printing/postage costs:

  • minimal as meeting papers circulated electronically to the Panel
  • printing of final IRP report was part of the Council agenda

Councillor related costs:

  • interviews were arranged when Members were at County Hall as far as possible but the total cost of those who claimed for travel to attend an interview came to £52.90
The staff time involved - 95 hours - is an estimate and includes a range of officers - from the Director of Legal and Democratic Services at the top of the earnings tree down to admin staff. I would guess that the hourly pay would range from about £61 down to about £8. Perhaps the total staff cost would therefore be around £2000 at a conservative estimate.

So the total cost of the entire review is likely to have been around £9000.

This is a massive waste of council taxpayers money and could so easily have been avoided. The only reason we had a review at all was because Independent and Conservative members could not accept a Lib Dem proposal to freeze allowances. Yet just a few months later the council voted by 92 votes to 9 in favour of a freeze with the Conservatives in support.

The £9000 that this review cost (as well as being a waste of the time of the review panel) could so easily have been used to provide more front line services so needed by the people of Cornwall.

The Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves for forcing Cornish taxpayers to foot this bill. They should be reaching into their own pockets to find the money.

No comments: