LETTER: County Council - Why raise allowances?

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Is the 23% increase in all county councillors allowances acceptable?

Councillors’ allowances are vital if local democracy is to thrive.

Most councillors, consider their allowance a salary. It is not! It is called an allowance for a reason. It is for those taking time off work, an element to compensate for loss of earnings.

There must be a better way of remuneration than this!

Is it time that we looked at the way we pay our councillors and a way of getting quality community individuals in these roles. Paying those that actually do the job, as we are always told value for money is the key.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of councillors more than earn their allowance and deserve to claim every penny they get, some however don’t deserve a penny of it. There is no accountability being a councillor, only to the people that vote you in. Do you know what your councillor does for you?

Are we just paying for those with time on their hands?

We need a true cross section of the community and reward those that would find it difficult to do this job financially.

I would have liked a zero increase for those councillors that don’t need the increase and for those on low income to receive a fair allowance.

There must be a large proportion of councillors on the County Council that are retired with adequate pensions or have sufficient income to support their work on the council.

They do not have the same need as those in low income employment. If we are to attract more young people onto becoming councillors we need to balance the allowances so that the ones on low income who need the allowance, receives a fair share. The option could be means testing.

We hear councillors saying that their allowances are not enough. At the end of the day a person has a choice when putting their name forward for election.

They knew how much the allowance was before they made the decision. Are they doing it for the good of the community, to represent the people that have elected them? OR Are they doing it 
for the money. If you ask 
them, what would their answer be?

At a recent West Lindsey District Council meeting a vote was taken on an increase in our allowance.

The vote went through, an increase of a £1.00 a week. I voted against, it was on principle of an increase, not the amount.

I was one of a handful of councillors that did go in front of the Independent Remuneration Panel and put my case for a fairer way of rewarding councillors. I put forward a form of means testing which was taken onboard.

How do we get the calibre of people we need to become councillors?

Could it be to scrap local politics as it stands, which is linked to central government politics. Using different

party names could be a step forward.

This is a whole new agenda, may be for further discussion!

Coun Ken Bridger

Market Rasen Town

Councillor (No allowance)

West Lindsey District

Councillor (£5,100) Taxable

County Councillor from 2005-2009