Councillors at disaster-prone Stoke-On-Trent City Council are the latest in the West Midlands to be enjoying a mid-recession pay rise, as the total bill for their allowances is set to hit almost £1million by 2011 (The Sentinel).
The 31% increase over the next two years will see elected members pocket an extra £3,000 each – bumping their earnings up to £12,000 – and this is in spite of the many (many) pratfalls this local authority has made over last two years, most of which have been detailed on this blog.
It seems that councillors all over the region are digging their heels in and insisting on the pay rises they’ve been counting on, even though many acknowledge that these increases might appear insensitive and avaricious from the outside looking in, especially to people being made redundant.
So how can you claim to serve the general public, whilst at the same time admitting your actions could be perceived as insulting or inappropriate? How many private companies will be bumping up wages by 31% between this year and next? It seems especially bizarre when councils are currently at pains to express the added strain on their resources at the moment, and, of course, Stoke council tax has soared by 3.9%.
Never ones to let logic or reason get in the way of a good spending spree, we can be sure that Stoke will plough on with this proposal, but it’ll certainly make it a lot harder for local taxpayers to swallow the next time they choose to plead poverty.