Conservative-run Wiltshire Council has voted to increase councillor allowances. The basic allowance has increased by one per cent but the Special Responsibility Allowances are up by 22 per cent.
Yet the allowances in Wiltshire were already relatively high. If you look at the total pay of the council leader – the basic allowance plus the SRA – it was already £37,335. The leader of Shropshire Council is on £34,542, of Herefordshire £35,183, of Cornwall £32,128, of Devon £35,970.
Now the Wiltshire Council leader will be on £43,011. It is true that the fat cat Labour leader of Durham is on even more – £49,875. But that should hardly be the acceptable limit of profligacy for a Conservative council leader.
Even if a council’s allowances are below the average it is hardly the right time to be putting them up during a period when savings are required.
Jonathan Isaby, the Political Director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance says:
“At a time when the Council has had to make necessary savings, shedding several hundred staff and freezing pay for others, it is outrageous in the extreme that councillors have voted to increase their own allowances. The last thing hard-pressed Wiltshire families deserve is for their elected representatives to be taking home more taxpayers’ money for themselves.
“Regardless of the independence of the panel which came up with these proposals, Wiltshire councillors should have rejected them. How can the county’s leading councillors retain the moral authority to oversee the necessary savings in the years ahead after taking these inflation-busting rises?
“Wiltshire residents have every right to feel badly let down by their civic leaders.”