A LETTER (September 8) stated that all district councillors “had their noses in the trough”, and gave the impression that all 52 councillors received £7,500, rising to £8,615 including travel expenses.
A LETTER from Alex and Janet Gibson (September 8) stated that all district councillors “had their noses in the trough”, and gave the impression that all 52 councillors received £7,500, rising to £8,615 including travel expenses.
Co-incidentally, later that day, I attended a district council meeting where Councillor Mike Simpson revealed that the Conservative group had waived any increase in their allowances for the latest financial year.
I campaigned as a potential new councillor last spring, and one of my leaflets said I would lobby for a reduction in councillors’ allowances.
With that in mind, I would like to state that I have taken a reduction in the allowance paid to me, so rather than any entitlement I would receive standing still, as the Conservative Group has done, my allowance has been reduced by five per cent.
The majority of my Liberal Democrat colleagues have taken a reduction as well. It’s my view there is a subtle difference between not taking an increase, which many of us in work have faced in recent years, and actually taking a reduction.
Mr Gibson appears to have added all the payments together and divided by 52. This ignores the fact that most councillors received a basic allowance of just over £4,200. Those with ‘special responsibilities’ receive additional allowances.
Living in Hartford, I have so far attended five meetings in Pathfinder House, and have not claimed anything for travel. I note that there are other councillors who do likewise. Astonishingly, if I were to make a claim, it could be done at 60p per mile.
I would like to suggest that if anyone is interested in seeing what individual councillors are paid, follow Mr. Gibson’s suggestion and Google ‘Councillors’ expenses for Huntingdonshire’. A few clicks later, you can bring up a table detailing every penny claimed. I can promise it won’t show everyone receiving the same amounts.
And while we do have to attend meetings – it’s more than “a few” but I won’t split hairs – much more of my time has been spent, enjoyably so, acting on case-work from the people who elected me to serve them.
Councillor STE GREENALL