Andrew Allison: It's time to take to the streets and protest

April 27, 2010 5:13 PM

I have posted here and here about East Riding Council’s decision to award Sue Lockwood’s pension fund a discretionary payment of £364,205. On Tuesday 13 April the cabinet made a final decision to go ahead with the award. Ms Lockwood will take early retirement from the council with the taxpayer over a third of  a million pounds worse off. Only one cabinet member, Matthew Grove, had the good sense and courage to speak out and vote against this decision. For this he deserves our admiration.

Apart from Cllr Grove, cabinet members have showed how out of touch they are with their constituents. I challenge those members of the cabinet who agreed to this payment to stand on the doorstep and explain this away. They can’t. Everyone knows you can’t justify the unjustifiable, and all they want is for this to go away. Well, I have news for them; it won’t.

Although we have lost this battle and Ms Lockwood will receive her cash, Cllr Parnaby and his cabinet will realise very soon what the public think of them. A few years ago people marched through the streets of Beverley in protest against an excessive pay rise awarded to the then chief executive, Daryl Stephenson, who is also the husband of Sue Lockwood. On May Day, Monday 3 May, at 2.00pm, you can join us for a protest rally outside County Hall in Beverley. This is not a personal campaign against Sue Lockwood. That would be wrong. We are protesting against the policy of offering discretionary payments to already well paid staff on very generous pension plans paid for by us. We are protesting against the secrecy in County Hall. The leadership never wanted us to know about this payment. If the story hadn’t been leaked to the Yorkshire Post, would we have found out? We are protesting against the £1.4 million already paid out in 2008/9 to those seeking early retirement. All of these payments were made on a discretionary basis, and we are protesting against excessive pay rises and excessive salaries for senior officers, particularly at this time when the government is borrowing over £5000 for every second that ticks by.

If you can join us in our protest, then please drop me a line at beverleyprotest@mail.com. If you are a Facebook user, join the Hull & East Riding Group and click here to confirm you are attending. We need to send a message to the ruling elite we are not prepared to be treated as though we don’t matter. We elect them and pay their wages. We can also vote them out and send them packing.

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