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Something is rotten in the county of Cornwall.

The Taxpayers Alliance reports the following:

The TPA’s Pinhead of the Month for October is Cllr John Pollard, the cabinet portfolio holder for Localism, Sustainability and Development on Cornwall Council.

He successfully proposed that the basic allowance for members of Cornwall Council should be increased by 20 per cent, from £12,128 to £14,600 per year. This will mean Cornwall council tax payers being left with an additional bill of more than £300,000 each year, assuming all 123 councillors accept the rise. Cllr Pollard claimed that the rise was vital in order to attract new councillors, yet it comes when the Council has had to impose a pay freeze on staff for the last three years and has attracted criticism over how it has handled a number of major projects.

I am also concerned about the general direction of the council after the ousting of its Conservative leader Cllr Alec Robertson to be replaced with another Conservative, Cllr Jim Currie. The administration relies on independents (such as Cllr Pollard) to be in coalition with the Conservatives.

In any event, some radical measures by Cllr Robertson to reduce costs while maintaining services have been fudged. He inherited a financial black hole from the Lib Dems, and was pushing strongly ahead with using the private sector, and shared services, to improve value for money. The savings were commended by Eric Pickles. He also prevented a rise in councillors allowances.

A deal with BT offering £150 million of savings over ten years has been shelved. If they are not going to achieve the huge savings that are possible, then what is Cllr Currie going to do instead? The economic realities have not changed.

In ousting Cllr Robertson, the councillors are dodging the bold decisions needed. A 20% pay rise is the last thing they deserve.

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