31 March 2009

Proposed Freeze on Lewisham Councillors' Allowances

The BBC website reports, MPs awarded 2.33% salary increase , the headline of which pretty much says it all.

In contrast, it is expected that Lewisham Councillors will waive a 2.75% increase that was proposed by the Independent Remuneration Panel (which does not have any councillors on its membership) a year or two ago. The implausibly high inflationary increase has arisen due to an anomaly that means that Councillors' allowances are related to the increases in officers' salaries the previous year. Clearly since that agreement was put forward, inflation has fallen significantly meaning that such an increase although agreed, is probably not warranted.

The schedule of allowances payable to each Councillor is set out in the papers for tomorrow's AGM and will of interest to some readers. The question as to whether Councillors should be entitled to an allowance etc is one that crops up every now and then...and I don't intend to go into the issues just yet. However one point I will make is if we want to ensure that people can stand for election and devote the time needed to allow them to properly represent local people then we need to be sure that this option is not just restricted to those with a significant personal income.

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