Councillors' allowances and taxpayer funding of unions

September 13, 2010 11:34 AM

Below is a short article I wrote for the Hull Daily Mail,
published on Saturday 11 September.



At this time of year, we learn how much our local councillors
have been paid in allowances and expenses, and the perennial debate commences on
whether or not they provide value for money. During the course of my work, I
speak to many councillors and there are those who are extremely hardworking and,
as in any other profession or walk of life, there are those who are not.

This year, though, the leader of East Riding of Yorkshire
Council, Stephen Parnaby, announced councillors in his authority will not
receive a rise next year and Carl Minns, leader of Hull City Council, has
announced cabinet members will take a pay cut of 5% from January next year. We
in the Taxpayers’ Alliance welcome these moves, as it shows councillors are
prepared to lead by example as the inevitable cuts to public services start to
bite. My only is question to Mr Parnaby is: Why has it taken so long? Hull City
councillors have been on a pay freeze for the last four years. Nevertheless, his
decision is welcome news.


What has annoyed me – and many others on the Mail’s website
– is the position of Dave Mathieson, the convenor of the UNITE union in Hull. Mr Mathieson is not paid by his union; he is paid by the
taxpayer. He has received salary increases over the past four years and as far
as I’m aware, he has not volunteered to take a 5% pay cut himself. I am not
ideologically opposed to trades’ unions. If people wish to join one, it is up to
them. I think my views are in tune with the majority of the British people,
however, it is wrong that every taxpayer in the country indirectly funds them.
If UNITE wants a full-time convenor in Hull, it should pay for it
themselves.


I have seen the income from my business fall by around a
third in the past couple of years. If only my outgoings had done the same. If Mr
Mathieson wants to lead by example, perhaps he should resign from his job at
Hull City Council, become a full-time employee on his union’s payroll, and
relieve taxpayers of the expense of his salary. If he does this voluntarily, I
will be the first person to congratulate him.




Below is a short article I wrote for the Hull Daily Mail,
published on Saturday 11 September.



At this time of year, we learn how much our local councillors
have been paid in allowances and expenses, and the perennial debate commences on
whether or not they provide value for money. During the course of my work, I
speak to many councillors and there are those who are extremely hardworking and,
as in any other profession or walk of life, there are those who are not.

This year, though, the leader of East Riding of Yorkshire
Council, Stephen Parnaby, announced councillors in his authority will not
receive a rise next year and Carl Minns, leader of Hull City Council, has
announced cabinet members will take a pay cut of 5% from January next year. We
in the Taxpayers’ Alliance welcome these moves, as it shows councillors are
prepared to lead by example as the inevitable cuts to public services start to
bite. My only is question to Mr Parnaby is: Why has it taken so long? Hull City
councillors have been on a pay freeze for the last four years. Nevertheless, his
decision is welcome news.


What has annoyed me – and many others on the Mail’s website
– is the position of Dave Mathieson, the convenor of the UNITE union in Hull. Mr Mathieson is not paid by his union; he is paid by the
taxpayer. He has received salary increases over the past four years and as far
as I’m aware, he has not volunteered to take a 5% pay cut himself. I am not
ideologically opposed to trades’ unions. If people wish to join one, it is up to
them. I think my views are in tune with the majority of the British people,
however, it is wrong that every taxpayer in the country indirectly funds them.
If UNITE wants a full-time convenor in Hull, it should pay for it
themselves.


I have seen the income from my business fall by around a
third in the past couple of years. If only my outgoings had done the same. If Mr
Mathieson wants to lead by example, perhaps he should resign from his job at
Hull City Council, become a full-time employee on his union’s payroll, and
relieve taxpayers of the expense of his salary. If he does this voluntarily, I
will be the first person to congratulate him.




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