Thursday, 10 January 2013

Councillors' Allowances (Into the fire!!)

A bit of a spat seems to have broken out today, not helped by Grant Shapps MP politicising an interesting piece of work by a commons select committee about Councillor's Allowances

It is a shame that once again the debate's focus has shifted to levels of allowances, when the best and most important part of that report is the recommendation that Councils should be given the ability to transfer decision-making about levels of allowances to an independent body rather than make the final call themselves.

It is something I, and many of my Councillor colleagues, have argued for for many-a-year.  It is wrong for Councillors to be forced to set their own allowances.  Interestingly, MPs used to set their own salaries, but recognised that was wrong a few years ago and changed the mechanism so they no longer did so. Rather than beat up Councillors maybe some Parliamentarians should take a more objective look at the most important part of this debate.


  1. I'm not sure it's a good idea to create an area of local government expenditure which councillors have no control over, within a constrained total budget. So your panel enacts an inflation-busting increase - so you cut street cleaning, or library hours, or whatever, to balance the budget. Do you think the fact that it was an independent panel which took the decision is going to protect councillors from the incoming - er - fertiliser?

  2. You could make the same arguments at a National level where it has been changed. The truth is the proportion of money spent on member allowances compared to the overall budget, particularly at county Council means that the increase in levels of allowances would have to be absolutely huge before it even started to have an impact on services.

    We already have to deal with far greater external influences, such as demographic growth, dealing with the impact of Government legislation, inflation and at the moment reductions in Government grant - we have to deal with them day in, day out and are of a far greater size than anything we deal with in allowances.