Today members of Warwickshire County Council will vote on whether cabinet members should receive a 13.87% or 15% special responsibility allowance rise, based on savings made at the council.
Despite the fact the Independent Remuneration Panel in Warwickshire seems to have previously recommended that the number of people with a ‘special responsibility allowance’ (SRA) be reduced from 41 in order to justify a hike, the authority could now potentially vote through this healthy rise in allowances for all of those who qualify currently.
And it’s the same old story. Why should councillors at Warwickshire have an allowance rise funded by taxpayers? Well, because they’ve been poking around and have noticed that some of the councillors at neighbouring authorities receive more than them. So rather than taking the moral high-ground and proudly informing their electorate that they represent better value for money (and encouraging other councils to follow suit), will they let envy and avarice usurp their sense of civic duty and vote to line their pockets with more public cash, even at this time of recession?
What do you think…?
And is this really why the council have made savings? It’s admirable that Warwickshire have taken steps to conserve cash and eliminate waste, but surely its poor taste to then redistribute this straight back into the pockets of councillors?! It isn’t ‘spare money’, its taxpayers’ money and residents should be the first to qualify to have it returned to them, rather than feeding it to councillors who seemingly see their ‘allowances’ (now more like salaries…) rise year on year. At the end of the day the council is supposed to exist in order to serve Warwickshire residents, not the other way around.
The public are really starting to feel as though those who enter politics are doing so for a free ride – the pay and the perks as it were – and moves like this do little to dispel that fear. In order to restore faith in politicians of all ranks, pay rises that are completely out-of-kilter with the circumstances faced by the rest of the UK workforce should, quite obviously, be completely avoided whether councillors sense a discrepancy or not. Everyone is aware that costs should be cut at the moment, not increased, and a whopping 15% rise in allowances is an insult to those people facing redundancy and pay cuts in the county.