Members’ Allowances Review

Members’ Allowances Review

The Independent Panel who look at Councillor’s Allowances were at Fenland Hall today and Councillors were invited to speak to them and comment on the allowances etc with a view to helping them decide what they are going to recommend to Council.

I have my interview at 16.15.

I was asked what I thought about the current level of the basic Councillor’s allowance.  I said I thought it was fine as it was and did not need any increase.

I was asked what I thought about the level of Special Responsibility Allowances.  I said that I thought most of them were okay, but has one or two comments in a couple of areas.

I was asked if the practice of the Chairman of Planning and the Chairman of O&S getting a higher SRA than other Chairman of Committees was reasonable and I thought it probably was.  Certainly for Planning.

The key point I made was in regards to Group Leader’s Allowances.  I said I felt it was a misuse of the system that a “group” can consist of just two people and that one of them can then get thousands of pounds to be the boss of the other one.  That has always seemed to me to be a gross abuse of the system, albeit one that is within the rules.

In my opinion two people do not constitute a “political group.”  Although the “starting point” is obviously an arbitrary choice, I think five is probably a good number that most people would accept is a “group.”  Maybe four.  But not two, in my humble opinion.