No more allowances for councillors

jarvisOutgoing council leader John Jarvis has today tried to pass the buck for one last time by calling on opponents to find alternative ways of saving money.

We’re glad you asked, John: it’s time all councillors put their money where their mouths are and stop claiming their allowances.

In the financial year of 2011–2012 Cllr John Jarvis claimed a whopping £41,787.16 in allowances!

Cllr Olwyn Barnett claimed £18,729.58

Cllr Adrian Blackshaw (farmer and involved with three other businesses) claimed £21,694.49

Cllr Patricia Morgan (farmer, landowner and director of Countrywide Farmers) claimed £19,965.26

Cllr Roger Phillips (farmer and landowner) claimed £30,088.95

Cllr Philip Price (farmer, landowner and internet consultant) claimed £20,918.55

Cllr Brian Wilcox (second job with employment tribunal service) claimed £19,743.18

All parties are in on it.

It’s Our Country councillors were elected as the party that would clean up local politics. Most of them have jobs aside from their council duties but all are still claiming an allowance.

Take Cllr Liz Chave for example. In June last year she registered two other separate jobs. Her husband is employed as a vicar and they both live in a church-owned house free of charge. Yet despite clearly not needing to claim a penny in 2011–2012 she claimed an allowance of £6,978.53.

Her fellow party councillor Jim Kenyon owns and runs both the Victory pub and Hereford Brewery. He also owns land in Breinton. In 2011–2012 he claimed £7,112.55.

Without exception all 58 councillors serving in the years 2011–2012 claimed allowances, whether they needed to or not.

If Cllr John Jarvis (owner of a bed and breakfast business) wants ideas for savings we suggest he gives up his various allowances.

And not just him. We throw down the gauntlet to all councillors to publicly declare they will no longer be claiming an allowance from Herefordshire Council.

If times are so bad that we’re about to engage in wholesale book-burning then we think councillors should forgo money they clearly do not need.

7 thoughts on “No more allowances for councillors

  1. I know that traditionally the Heckler has never been a fan of Its Our County, but I think you should be aware that some IOC councillors (certainly Cllr Mark Hubbard) claim their allowances and then pop the money into IOC’s central funds to keep the party afloat.

    As to your business descriptions of other party money-grabbers. don’t you feel there’s a touch of hyperbole in describing the pathetically feeble Roger Phillips as ‘a farmer’? By the look of him, he hasn’t got the strength to open a 5-bar gate!

  2. Its a disgrace that this goes on. Why should anyone in a public sector role earning over the countries average age get expenses? There is talk of cuts to many public services (library, museum and courtyard) yet more then enough money goes into the pockets of greedy councillors. This is the money we know of I wonder how much back room dealing and sly under handed pay offs some receive. You only have to look at some of the ventures going on to wonder. The totally inept unsustainable Edgar Street grid that is currently under way. Hereford is going to be split in two and its a Good job they built A Big fence around the cathedral because it’s going to need it along with big gates when that end of town is completely defunct. Why oh why didn’t they think of turning Hereford into a different shopping experience. Going back to traditional shopping with proper shop fronts integrating the cathedral and the River as these are the two main reasons anyone comes here.

  3. Why do IOC members think it is acceptable to take expenses and then donate them to their own political party? Why is that in any way more moral than simply trousering the money? They were elected to represent us, not to raise funds for their political ends.

  4. Not sure whether your problem relates to class, culture or envy. But one way to effectively deal with all your issues democratically is to stand clearly against all of the councillors, beat them fairly and openly, and then attend on the payments given for doing a job well and on behalf of the whole community. At the same time rejecting all offers to attend meetings outside the county for which you might find yourself out of pocket and need reimbursement.

  5. I expected ill-thought out heckling from some anarchists (what flavour?) but whinging envy that is aimed at everyone – including those WITHOUT jobs, WITHOUT a pension and including those who put in an enormous amount of work to even understand the complex issues involved in running a County let alone spend the time researching and devising alternatives isn’t worthy of comment. Oh, but I just have. You irritated me. Good thing! Where’s my expenses sheet ….. £560 a month for the endless hours … less than £19 a day …

  6. Beware the law of unintended consequences.

    If you remove allowances for County Councillors then you unwittingly reinforce the already shockingly narrow social profile of elected local authority members. Being a councillor is already an old boys’ game: the average age nationally is 60 (it’s going to be higher than that in Herefordshire), predominantly male (70%) and white (96%).

    In Ledbury Town Council, councillors don’t claim allowances. This means the only people prepared to do the job are mainly people with lots of time on their hands and who can afford to.

    Given that the average local councillor spends about half the working week on council business, a £7k annual stipend for the even more important job of being a County Councillor doesn’t seem an overly generous deal.

    Instead of focusing purely on the populist headlines, you should also be thinking about how a wider pool of talented individuals can be enticed into public service: more women, younger people, those from minority groups, particularly BME and disabled people.

    The problem is not with the allowances, it’s more to do with the quality of the people who are claiming them, and the quality of the service that they are delivering to the public.

    For more discussion of democracy issues and representation see my blog: http://www.richhadley.net/blog

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