Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why we should cut councillor allowances by 33%

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?


Nick W said...

Thats just for starters. Upper levels of Management are grossly over paid. Just take the CEO for example, her salary contradicts Libdem national policy at around £120K plus benefits

I would suggest any salary in excess of £30K is cut by 50%. So for example a Director on £90K would see his or her salary fall to £60K. A Head of Service on £60K would see their salary fall to £45K.

The whole Public Sector is living beyond its means - well to be precise £410m every day. If we are not going to end up like Zimbabwe this has to be tackled now - the parasites are on the verge of overwhelming the host.

Richard Taylor said...


Do you think a sole Conservative on the City Council should have a special responsibility allowance (as a kind of "party leader")?

Andrew Bower said...

Hi Richard,

No I don't. The correct solution is to get more people elected.

To his credit, I understand the Labour group leader may have argued for Chris to have a greater allowance as the only Conservative but I don't think we need any special treatment.