The Daily Mail splashes today with a story about how councillors allowances have increased ahead of inflation in recent years. The average increase for England and Wales since 2005 is 25%.
Some of those with the biggest hikes have been Labour and Lib Dem councils claiming they have no alternative but to cut frontline services. Lambeth has seen a 60% increase. Haringey a 58% increase. Copeland's hike is 57%. In Norwich the figure is 48%.
We have got Eastleigh with a 67% increase the same figure for Milton Keynes. These are both Lib Dem councils whose leaders had the nerve to sign a letter to The Times last week pleading poverty and attacking Eric Pickles.
A few months before I was elected a councillor in 2006 the then Labour council in Hammersmith and Fulham approved an increase in allowances of 2.95%. It meant, for example, the basic allowance became £8,475 and the Leader's Special Responsibility Allowance became £33,900. There were small increases for a couple of years but at next week's council meeting we are proposingto freeze for the third year in a row. The basic allowance is £8,940 and the Leader's Special Responsibility Allowance is £35,763. So our allowances have increased by about a tenth of the level of Lambeth and Haringey.