Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Councillor allowances in Merton

The issue of increased councillor allowances is on the agenda for the General Purposes Committee on Wednesday. The Tory administration have come forward with proposals to increase the total allowances by 21.7% which will equate to an extra £156,000 at a time when Merton Council have to make cuts of up to £14 million pounds.

In last weeks local Guardian the Tory leader of the council David Williams sought to justify the proposals on the grounds that we were bringing them in line with neighbouring boroughs and that we've the second lowest allowances in London. In terms of the Labour group on Merton Council we do not favour these increases given the financial climate the Council faces and that restraint that is needed in terms of Council spending(we favour an increase in line with inflation). Now is not the time for voting ourselves huge allowance increases including a proposed 37.&% increase in cabinet allowances along with Chair of Planning and Chair of Scrutiny, 28.5% increase for the Deputy Leader, 23.9% increase for scrutiny panel chairs(including myself) and 10.2% increase for Leader, Leader of the opposition and all other councillors.

I do not doubt for a moment that councillors from across all parties in Merton work hard but now is not time for 'Putting Ourselves First'. I would much rather this money is spent on protecting services some of which are facing massive cuts under proposals brought forward by the Tory administration.

The decision will be discussed at General Purposes committee tomorrow night and Council will be taking a final decision on 28th November.


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