SLDC rejects call to cut £285,000 paid to councillors

The Westmorland Gazette: Ian Kell tells SLDC councillors 'cut your claims' Ian Kell tells SLDC councillors 'cut your claims'

COUNCILLORS have rejected a call to take a cut in the £285,000 claimed by them for doing the role.

Member of the public, Ian Kell, of Mealbank, proposed they take a 10 per cent cut at a full meeting last night (Dec 17) of South Lakeland District Council.

He said that in an era of austerity, elected members needed to reduce the £285,355 claimed last year in allowances, subsistence and travel.

The retired academic spoke as the council’s Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) - an allowance-setting committee featuring members of the public - reported its annual review.

It agreed the basic £3,380 allowance councillors can claim should not be increased, although there will be nationally-linked rises in what they can submit for food, drink and travel expense claims.

Mr Kell told the chamber: “Throughout the year we, your electorate, have been regaled by you and your county counterparts with the need for cutbacks in virtually every budget that delivers services and comforts valued mainly by the least privileged and most needy.”

“All budgets must be subject to cuts except one, apparently - your take from the public purse. As the season for giving approaches would it be such a hardship for you to take a 10 per cent cut in your take?," said Mr Kell.

“Just think what benefit, what joy - the £300,000 you give back to them (constituents) could bring to the most deserving of those who will find it hardest to pay their SLDC council tax in 2014.”

However, Lib Dem front bencher Coun Clare Feeney-Johnson added: “I have a young family and if members of the public realised how many hours I put in they would be very shocked and would not do it themselves, I’m sure. We don’t want a room of councillors only wealthy enough to give their time for free, because people like me couldn’t afford to do it.”

And Tory councillor Andrew Gardner said: “If people feel that way and want to represent their area, put themselves forward for election. I actually lose money being a councillor.” David Holden, chairman of the panel, told the meeting: “We have a duty to be fair to members but we are very aware of public perception as well.”

The council says it is required by law to maintain an Independent Remuneration Panel and annually review allowances for members.

Debbie Storr, SLDC Director of Policy and Resources, said: “The current arrangements for members’ allowances for 2014/15 will remain the same as the current year. The list of approved duties for travel and subsistence is to be continued. There will be no change to Childcare/Dependant Carers’ Allowance and there will be no increase to the Co-optees’ Allowance.”

Earlier this year, Mr Kell told the Gazette how he applied for a role on SLDC’s IRP but was not appointed despite being recommended by council managers.

His subsequent Freedom Of Information request showed that his interviewers found his ‘forthright views’ might cause ‘friction’ on the IRP.

However, SLDC said councillors decided instead to ‘broaden the field of candidates’ on the panel in terms of ‘gender, geography and skills’.

Comments (6)

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4:12pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Red Doc says...

What other sort of response can you expect from this bunch of self serving parasites who take no notice of their constituents views on anything eg land allocation, public toilets etc
What other sort of response can you expect from this bunch of self serving parasites who take no notice of their constituents views on anything eg land allocation, public toilets etc Red Doc

4:28pm Wed 18 Dec 13

boris plasticmac says...

Sounds like the meeting was more interesting than usual.
Sounds like the meeting was more interesting than usual. boris plasticmac

6:03pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Geoff103 says...

Now you know why the Independent Remuneration Panel was 'fixed' to avoid any semblance of 'independence'.
Now you know why the Independent Remuneration Panel was 'fixed' to avoid any semblance of 'independence'. Geoff103

10:59pm Wed 18 Dec 13

snuggle-bunny says...

so they've agreed to to reject a cut of money to themselves. One is surprised isn't one- old boy
so they've agreed to to reject a cut of money to themselves. One is surprised isn't one- old boy snuggle-bunny

10:51am Tue 24 Dec 13

archiebored says...

breaking news! turkeys have also voted against christmas.
breaking news! turkeys have also voted against christmas. archiebored

1:15pm Tue 24 Dec 13

snuggle-bunny says...

lol- nice one Arcie
lol- nice one Arcie snuggle-bunny

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