Monday, 21 October 2013

An end to free food for councillors? - UPDATED

One of the discussions taking place at tomorrow's Cornwall Council meeting is over the ending of free food for councillors. It is a proposal being put forward by my Launceston Lib Dem colleague Jade Farrington.

At present, councillors get a free sandwich lunch provided for them on full council days. The value of this was cut earlier this year from about £9.50 per head to about £5. In addition, councillors can sign for food valued at up to £5 per day at County Hall on days other than those when the full council meets. Finally, we can claim back money spent on meals when we are away (out of Cornwall) at meetings on council business.

To my mind, it is only the last of these that employees in the private sector get and the only one that it is reasonable for councillors to get. Everyone else either brings a packed lunch to work or buys a sandwich. They have to pay for it themselves, so why shouldn't Cornwall councillors?

Jade's debate tomorrow won't end the right of councillors to claim for food. Technically, this can only be done by convening an independent remuneration panel - a formal review of councillors' terms and conditions. But this process itself costs money and so Jade is asking the council to agree the principle until such time as the panel next meets. But it is definitely a step in the right direction.

(Declaration of interest: In the past I have signed for food. I don't do so any more.)

UPDATE - The motion was overwhelmingly passed at today's full council.


Phil said...

This will bring you pretty much in line with your staff. Now for the next step: reduce the number of councillors even if you must wait for ever because of government bureaucracy. Doing this will bring councillors in line with the staff you/they will very soon be sacking.

Phil said...

That should bring councillors in line with staff. The next steps are:

1) link councillors allowances to annual staff pay settlements. End the pantomime of the so called experts who currently give you advice which then rejected.

2) Cut the number of councillors by between 1/3 and 1/2 to be in line with the staff you are about to sack or have sacked or will have sacked by the next election. Even if you have to wait for ever because of the government. I am sure if you asked Pickles would be flexible and accommodating about getting rid of councillors we don't need.