At the forthcoming city council by-election I will be standing on the Conservative manifesto for the recent city council election in May, where we argued for a 10% cut in councillors' basic and special responsibility allowances.
Since then the new government has opened the books and concluded that departments need to identify between 20% and 40% savings. It is only right that councillors should lead by example - we are all in this together - so we are now proposing a 33% cut in those allowances.
Councillor allowances are not a salary, honorarium or stipend but are intended to cover out-of-pocket costs. The distinction is important because if seen as a salary then a culture of rights and a sense of entitlement could accrue, as if it were paid employment. It is also not intended to be a backdoor mechanism for the state funding of political parties [search for received by 'Cambridge' and donor 'group'].
The saving of 33% in those allowances could fund a 1.25% reduction in the planned council tax rise. That would take the 3.5% increase which the Lib Dems are planning in their medium term strategy to 2.25%, triggering George Osborne's council tax freeze and allowing a net reduction in council tax from the city council of 0.25%. Good leverage, eh?