It seems that Dudley councillors will soon be laughing all the way to the bank as the Express & Star reveals that they’re in line for a 20% raise in their allowances despite the fact that many of their electorate will be facing redundancy or pay cuts in the current economic climate.
This is all while it’s been acknowledged that ‘public finances are tight’ by the independent panel that recommended it!
The cost of these councillors will now jump from an already huge £760,000 to a whopping £930,000 if this rise is approved. So is this justified? Is it really value for money? Only the people of Dudley can decide that, but I’d imagine that the many would have little sympathy for the argument that the 20% rise is to set them in line with other boroughs.
What other councillors in other boroughs earn is irrelevant, and councillor envy is not something that should be bankrolled by the taxpayer. The Liberal Democrat leader says that there’s never a good time to announce a pay rise, and more than anything it’s interesting to learn that he thinks of the allowance as pay or a salary rather than an amount to cover the expenses of public office…
And it’s not just Dudley who’ve lost the plot, it turns out that Walsall are at it too. The Express & Star reported yesterday that they’d splashed out £750 for an IT consultant to come all the way from Bristol, and for what? To reset the password on the council’s computer!
Was there no-one in the whole of the West Midlands capable of such a task? This is profligate spending at its most shocking, and though the amount may be relatively small, the careless and insensitive way it has been spent speaks volumes about the attitude towards taxpayers’ cash within much of local government.
These two councils should be tightening their belts and being visibly prudent in empathy with their local residents, but instead they’re steadily leaking much needed cash. Whilst private business flounders it is appalling to learn of the cavalier attitude that still perpetuates within the public sector, and we can only hope that disrespectful behaviours like these will be less prevalent as this recession drags on.