Many people will be glued to their television this Saturday to watch the semi-finals of Strictly Come Dancing. I have to admit to being a fan myself, mainly because I am a hopeless dancer and I marvel at those who can. One dance that will not be featured though is the hokey cokey. If it had been, then I would have suggested to the producers of the show that they should invite Cllr Colin Lambert, the leader of Rochdale Council, to make a guest appearance as politically he has been performing this dance for the last two months.
In October, he decided he was going to award the council’s Chief Executive a £40,000 a year pay rise. Then, because of the obvious chorus of objection, this decision was in doubt and it was reported by multiple news sources that the pay rise was not going ahead. Good news, so we thought, but then it appeared that the pay rise was back on. We were contacted by Rochdale’s MP, Simon Danczuk who said, “He is going to get it. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Watch outcome of council meeting tomorrow.” The next day the full council meeting decided to defer a decision until this month. Continue Reading
Bath councillors are arguing for taxpayers’ money to be spent on converting a public toilet into a wine bar. It is the latest twist in the Bath and North East Somerset’s (B&NES) bungled attempt to save £120,000 by closing down 14 public toilets across the region.
Situated in the village of Larkhall, the public toilet was all set to be closed down, when a series of protests—including a woman spending several nights in one loo—plus a 2,800-signature petition, forced a u-turn on the council who have agreed now not to close the toilets unless other provision can be made for the vulnerable people who need to use the loos. The whole procedure was so clearly a public relations act to show that the council was getting tough on expenditure, while actually doing little to trim its back-room budget. The removal of one senior management post would more than have covered the £120,000 they wished to save by closing down the toilets. Continue Reading
In our report ‘201 Ways to Save Money in Local Government’ published last month, number 188 was reduce the number of councillors. I don’t know whether Keighley’s deputy mayor, Judith Brooksbank has seen our report, however she is proposing just that after the suggestion received strong support at a local consultation meeting.
Currently, Bradford Council has a total of 90 councillors spilt between thirty wards – three per ward. Cllr Brooksbank has proposed cutting the number of councillors by a third, leaving two per ward, meaning there wouldn’t have to be any redrawing of the boundaries which can be a lengthy and costly process. According to her, it could save £390,000 a year. Her proposal has not gone down well though with the leader of Bradford Council, Cllr Dave Green. He said: Continue Reading
Jonathan Isaby of the TaxPayers’ Alliance issued the following response to today’s announcement by IPSA on MPs’ pay:
In recommending this pay hike at a time when wages are stagnating for millions across the country, IPSA has demonstrated itself to be not fit for purpose. This unaccountable bureaucratic monster of a quango, which was supposed to help restore public faith in Parliament after the 2009 MPs’ expenses scandal, has in fact just succeeded in turning the clock back four years.
He also commented on the revelation that IPSA spent more than £70,000 on opinion research seeking the public’s view on MPs’ pay, only to completely disregard it (see notes to editors for details):
It beggars belief that IPSA felt it an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money to run up a bill in excess of £70,000 on opinion surveys, citizens’ juries and focus groups. But it is beyond contempt that IPSA completely ignored the very research which showed the public to think that MPs’ pay is currently ‘broadly fair’. The body which ought to be representing the interests of voters and taxpayers has unceremoniously put two fingers up at the lot of us.
The IPSA website reveals two payments to COMRES for “Consultation MP Pay & Pension” of £33,273 and £37,593 on 10/05/2012 and 29/06/2012 respectively. See the spreadsheet “Expenditure over £25,000 – 2013 (updated to November” at http://lowtax.es/1bGvIJ0)
Swansea Council, along with some other councils in Wales, has proposed yet further cut backs to local bin collections. As I mentioned last week, the council proposes to limit the amount of refuse one household can have collected to only three black bags once a fortnight .
Households should be helped to recycle more but that does not justify the move. It is vital that we protect essential front-line services that taxpayers pay a fortune for through their Council Tax bill.
That’s why we’re holding an Action Day this Friday, 13 December, and will ask local people to sign our petition. You will find us on Oxford Street, Swansea, from 9.00 am until lunchtime. Please come and show your support against this outrageous policy.