Oct 2008 30

Clown_city_2The Lib Dem controlled Northampton Borough councillors this week voted to pass themselves a 7.7% pay increase for all councillors.  The leader of the council voted himself a 43% pay increase.  Yes, you read that right, a forty-three-per-cent pay increase.  The deputy leader gets a 64% increase.  All cabinet members get a 55% pay increase.  By a vote of 23 to 15, this egregious pay deal was passed and represents a big slap in the face to taxpayers’ who, in the current economic climate, can only dream of such a pay increase.

Why did they do this, then?  The council leadership justified it as to “encourage those on lower incomes to become councillors”.  Never mind public service or the fact that many people, pensioners and community activists who give up their time and money to become local representatives, already do a wonderful job, sometimes voting against pay increases or refusing to take their salary at all.  No, NBC want to use taxpayers’ money to try and tempt people into public service because of the money involved. 

But looking closer at Northampton Borough Council’s accounts, you’ll see that the council has a £7.2million budget black hole this year, with added risk of service cuts.  Talk about skewed priorities.  What these councillors will respond with is that they took the advice of an ‘independent panel’, but the point is that these recommendations are non-binding – they could have rejected them.

If you’re fed up of politicians using your money to line their pockets, ask Northampton Borough’s councillors whether they voted for the pay increase or not, whether they will take the pay increase or not and – if they voted for it – why they did so given the council’s dire financial situation:

Cllr Sally Beardsworth (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Shadik Chaudhury (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Richard Church (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Scott Collins (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Roger Conroy (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Jenny Conroy (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Maria-Trinidad Crake (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Mel de Cruz (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr David Garlick (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Brendan Glynane (LD Deputy Leader) – [email protected]
Cllr Jean Hawkins (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Brian Hoara (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Jane Hollis (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Irene Markham (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Brian Markham (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Richard Matthews (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Dennis Meredith (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Malcolm Mildren (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr David Perkins (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Andrew Simpson (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Marianne Taylor (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Pam Varnsverry (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Paul Varnsverry (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Portia Wilson (LD) – [email protected]
Cllr Anthony Woods (LD Leader of the Council) – [email protected]
Cllr John Yates (LD) – [email protected]

Cllr John Caswell (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Jane Duncan (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Donald Edwards (Con) – 01604 752551 (No email address)
Cllr Penelope Flavell (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Tim Hadland (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Michael Hill (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Michelle Hoare (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Jamie Lane (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Phil Larratt (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Judith Lill (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Colin Lill (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Christopher Malpas (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr David Palethorpe (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Kevin Reeve (Con) – [email protected]
Cllr Elizabeth Taverner (Con) – [email protected]

Cllr Joy Capstick (Lab) – [email protected]
Cllr Iftikhar Ahmed Choudary (Lab) – [email protected]
Cllr Keith Davies (Lab) – [email protected]
Cllr Lee Mason (Lab) – [email protected]
Cllr Tess Scott (Lab) – [email protected]

Cllr Tony Clarke (Independent) – [email protected]

  • Anon

    I note the pay increases will see the leader of the council receive total pay of £22,927 – an increase of 43 per cent, the deputy leader will get £16,342.
    The Leader of East Hert district council was paid over £32k in 2007/08 and the deputy nearly £22k
    These numbers are ridiculous

  • Dave Black

    To whosoever it may concern.
    If we are to attract young people of talent and ambition to politics which is nothing more than the organisation of government with its own particular way of working. We have to pay a going rate that competes with what they could earn in industry or commerce.
    They will have mortgages to pay and children to educate. I f you persist in suggesting that councillors should feel the pain, no doubt they do for they live in the real world. Such ideas are akin to windfall taxes that do nothing more than destroy the balance sheets of successful companies.
    It’s the economics of the madhouse and the TPA should know better or is it just another cushy job creation scheme that keep all its participants in a degree of comfort and luxury not generally available to the common man and woman.
    It’s time to get real TPA should join the real world, this blowing in the wind benefits no one but themselves.
    Dave Black.

  • Chris Ridgeway

    I wonder if Mr Black might disclose his position, whether he works in politics or not? The argument he puts forward sounds suspiciously contrived and made over and over again by other politicians.
    I thought public service was just that, serving the public? It appears since the advent of New Labour we have career politicians without experience of life and business. They (as well as the Tories and Lib Dems) do not add to our economic success merely suck the energy and life from successful creative people as well as extract money to pay for their whims and crackpot ideas.
    And what qualifications are required to take up such a ‘vital role’ in our local and national political system? Be good at talking bulls*^t, be good at talking, be good at mediocrity and an ability to spend without offering value, oh yes and ignore common sense!
    For the record – I run a business that employs people, keeps to budget and makes a profit.

  • Sharon Wong

    I would like to counter Mr. Black’s comment and say that the TPA is indeed living the real world as opposed to the politicians whom Mr. Black seem to support. He implies that the ‘going rate’ has been insufficient and hence the (self-awarded) eye-watering pay rise by the NBC is justifiable, in the face of their own incompetence of running up a £7.2 million deficit. Surely Mr. Black’s world is as warped as the NBC!
    Like Mr. Ridgeway, I’d like to know which council or govt. dept. Mr. Black works for.

  • NigelC

    Mr Black seems to have forgotten in his comments that councillors do not run day to day operations; that is the role of council officers.
    Elected members are required to set policy and scrutinise performance. Most meetings are in the evening and it should be possible to combine being a councillor with a full time job.
    These allowances enable far to many elected members to become full time politicians detached from the real world and the idea of having to earn a living.

  • helen

    At least they accepted the advice of the independant panel, our council, Tewkesbury Borough has ignored their recommondations for years and paid themselves a third OVER and twice as much as some similar councils. One councillor claimed it was still a pittance! All this from a council that is in special measures, charges ‘city’ car parking prices everyday even taking money from the ‘flood regeneration fund’ to allow the town free parking on Saturdays over Christmas. Needless to say we no longer have a pest control service, can’t afford bus shelters, free under 16 swimming, adequate recycling services and many more basic things. Good news is that a cul-de-sac in town where many ‘names’ live have been given a 24/7 RPZ to go with their double garages, driveways and moorings which they police themselves out of hours opposite a grass bank that has been made a village green!! The smallest one ever.

  • MPage3

    Would any of you accept a deduction of the third in how your income is valued because what you do is considered to be voluntary? That’s what councillors have to do. I know I wouldn’t.
    It’s rubbish to say that all Council meetings are in evenings and therefore accessible the two councils closest to me have daytime meetings. Even if they were, what if you have children and you want to see them after school?
    Would any of you give up all your evenings to listen to the complaints and problems of your neighbours and not get paid for it?
    Do you really want to be represented only by the people who can afford to? Are you suggesting a return to feudal governance?
    The problem is not those ‘elected to power’ it is those who elect them and the lack of care they exercise over a vote that women had to die for to gain…
    And if you are so critical of the calibre of the candidates that you can choose to elect. Do something about it, stand for election yourselves and change the system from within. Don’t just sit there moaning about it.

  • Ian B

    As one who lives in the very town itself, I have to say that one of the most upsetting of this mob is one Roger Conroy, a skeletal gnome with appalling teeth who sends out these sort of low-rent Pravda newsletters featuring endless blurry photos of himself hanging around public places looking like a mendicant, pointing at things which particularly offend him- holes in the road, paving slabs, squirrels, that kind of thing. The last one included him pointing at a tree stump, and proudly declaring that he’d forced the council to remove said tree as “a security risk”. It is certainly reassuring as a mere citizen to know that he is protecting us from Al Quaida infestations of our trees. I suspect he may be following the LD’s radical green agenda of abolishing everything made of carbon.

  • NigelC

    MPage3 Nov 3rd 6.50pm – I am an elected councillor with a full time job.
    P.S. What is the point of having council meetings during the day when most people are at work and can neither participate or observe?

  • Ali Zubair

    Chris Ridgeway
    “For the record – I run a business that employs people, keeps to budget and makes a profit.”
    You forgot to add “and offers loans at 125% of property value, thus adding to the negative equity misery of first time buyers”.

  • http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2008/11/local_democracy.html Samizdata.net

    Local democracy in Northampton gets a good blogging

    So I pop in to Guido’s, and at the top right, item (as of now) one in the Seen Elsewhere section, is a link to this short posting at the UK Libertarian Party blog: The Taxpayers Alliance have reported that the Lib Dem Northampton Borough Council have a…