UPDATED: Row as MPs suggest increasing allowances would lead to 'more capable' councillors

Row as MPs suggest increasing allowances would lead to 'more capable' councillors

Row as MPs suggest increasing allowances would lead to 'more capable' councillors

First published in News

A political row has erupted after MPs suggested that increasing town hall allowances could help attract more "capable" local councillors.

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps accused Labour of a "sleazy" bid to boost its own party coffers by encouraging higher payments.

But the Opposition said he had scored a "massive own goal" because Tory MPs had approved the contents of the cross-party report.

In Wirral, the 66 councillors receive:

• A basic allowance of £9,171 per year for all members.

• Special responsibility allowance for councillors who take on additional   responsibilities, such as cabinet members and committee chairmen and women. These range from £22,927, for the leader of the council, to £1,375.

• Reimbursement of travel and subsistence costs

• A dependant carer’s allowance, to support any councillors with childcare responsibilities.

Wirral Council leader Phil Davies said it would be “inappropriate” for councillors to take extra cash for their roles while some residents struggle to make ends meet.

He said: “I believe that councillors do a really excellent job and it is important that they are properly supported and remunerated.

"However if I was asked if I would propose an increase in Wirral, the answer would be no.

“I took the view that given the economic climate where the cost of living is rising and local Government funding is being cut, I felt it would send the wrong message to voters if we increased allowances.”

The tit-for-tat Parliamentary row was sparked by the conclusions of an investigation into the role of councillors by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

It found that present levels of allowances "at best, do not encourage and, at worst, deter capable people from standing for election".

The increasingly demanding role warranted "an appropriate level of compensation, especially if they have to take time off work", it said. However "the problem is exacerbated because councils are reluctant to vote for an increase for fear of the media and public reaction".

Instead, like under the new system for MPs' pay and perks, responsibility for setting allowances should be handed over to an independent local panel, it recommended.

Compensation for loss of earnings, incentives for employers to support council duties and more officer support to handle casework were also recommended.

Labour MP Clive Betts, who leads the committee which has a majority of members from coalition parties, said "legitimate" rises were being shied away from and dismissed Mr Shapps' attack as "shallow political point-scoring".

Minutes show the text of the report was approved by both Conservative members present, Heather Wheeler and Mark Pawsey.

Mrs Wheeler, herself a councillor of more than 20 years' standing, said she stood by the report, including the concerns that low allowances may in some cases put off candidates.

But Mr Shapps accused Mr Betts of a "cynical and sleazy move" because Labour councillors are obliged to pass on a proportion of their allowances to the local and national party coffers.

He said: "Local taxpayers will be shocked to learn that the Labour Party will be quids-in from Labour demands for more taxpayers' money on councillor allowances."

Mr Betts insisted the committee was not calling for a "blanket increase" but an independent assessment in each area as to whether allowances were set at the correct level.

Comments (18)

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1:55pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Hugo1008 says...

Not only have we got far too many Elected Councilors, 66 here on Wirral when about 20 would be more than enough, reduce the total number from 66 to 20 would save us a million pounds each and every year.

By the same token Reduce 650 MPs down to about 100 would save us in excess of half a billion pounds at a stroke.

The whole of the USA only have 100 Senators who run an Entire Continent, let alone a small country like ours, and they do not have all their rules and regulations dictated from an un-elected European Organisation in Brussels.

And we even have Euro MPs that we pay for WHY, 99 percent of Politicians are not worth a carrot, whatever party the belong to, let them be fully supported by the Political Party Members, if they are that important.
Not only have we got far too many Elected Councilors, 66 here on Wirral when about 20 would be more than enough, reduce the total number from 66 to 20 would save us a million pounds each and every year. By the same token Reduce 650 MPs down to about 100 would save us in excess of half a billion pounds at a stroke. The whole of the USA only have 100 Senators who run an Entire Continent, let alone a small country like ours, and they do not have all their rules and regulations dictated from an un-elected European Organisation in Brussels. And we even have Euro MPs that we pay for WHY, 99 percent of Politicians are not worth a carrot, whatever party the belong to, let them be fully supported by the Political Party Members, if they are that important. Hugo1008
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Hugo1008 says...

There is no possible excuse for Political Parties to be supported by Ratepayers and Tax Payers Funds.

If Local Councillors worked exclusively for the good of the Local Population then the rate payers could support them.

But when Elected Councilors only follow Party Political Dogma and Interests, they should be fully supported by the membership of the Political Party Concerned.

The Present System means that in a so called Political Ward, only a very small number of residents actually belong to a Political Party, it is total madness and does not represent the support of the Population, that is not Democracy in any shape or form.
There is no possible excuse for Political Parties to be supported by Ratepayers and Tax Payers Funds. If Local Councillors worked exclusively for the good of the Local Population then the rate payers could support them. But when Elected Councilors only follow Party Political Dogma and Interests, they should be fully supported by the membership of the Political Party Concerned. The Present System means that in a so called Political Ward, only a very small number of residents actually belong to a Political Party, it is total madness and does not represent the support of the Population, that is not Democracy in any shape or form. Hugo1008
  • Score: 0

2:17pm Thu 10 Jan 13

nivekd says...

Grant Shapps talking about sleaze? Don't make me laugh! This is the man who uses a pseudonym - Michael Green - when he's up to business deals which one can only politely describe as 'questionable'. http://www.guardian.
co.uk/politics/2012/
oct/08/grant-shapps-
how-to-corp-michael-
green
Grant Shapps talking about sleaze? Don't make me laugh! This is the man who uses a pseudonym - Michael Green - when he's up to business deals which one can only politely describe as 'questionable'. http://www.guardian. co.uk/politics/2012/ oct/08/grant-shapps- how-to-corp-michael- green nivekd
  • Score: 0

2:20pm Thu 10 Jan 13

bigfoot says...

Pots,Kettles and a colour not white springs to mind!
Pots,Kettles and a colour not white springs to mind! bigfoot
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Thu 10 Jan 13

WirralAl says...

Hugo1008 wrote:
There is no possible excuse for Political Parties to be supported by Ratepayers and Tax Payers Funds.

If Local Councillors worked exclusively for the good of the Local Population then the rate payers could support them.

But when Elected Councilors only follow Party Political Dogma and Interests, they should be fully supported by the membership of the Political Party Concerned.

The Present System means that in a so called Political Ward, only a very small number of residents actually belong to a Political Party, it is total madness and does not represent the support of the Population, that is not Democracy in any shape or form.
100% AGREE Expensive farce not Democracy.

I have more of an opinion than ticking a box every couple of years. The present system is 100 years out of date.

I have to complete a census with pages and pages to tell them about me when I matter not.

I tick a box which helps decide a countries future for 4 years. The box I tick then assumes I agree with all the policies of that faction. Red, Green, Blue or Brown.

How is that democracy?

I pay my taxes without being allowed an opinion.

I guess that it is the only way they all get to stay in power and we just have to go along with what they say. Is it the idiots to the left or to the right. Either way a well paid job and a nice pension just to sit in the halls of power and heckle abuse like yobs but in suits.

As you say why should we pay for so many of the duly elected or not.
[quote][p][bold]Hugo1008[/bold] wrote: There is no possible excuse for Political Parties to be supported by Ratepayers and Tax Payers Funds. If Local Councillors worked exclusively for the good of the Local Population then the rate payers could support them. But when Elected Councilors only follow Party Political Dogma and Interests, they should be fully supported by the membership of the Political Party Concerned. The Present System means that in a so called Political Ward, only a very small number of residents actually belong to a Political Party, it is total madness and does not represent the support of the Population, that is not Democracy in any shape or form.[/p][/quote]100% AGREE Expensive farce not Democracy. I have more of an opinion than ticking a box every couple of years. The present system is 100 years out of date. I have to complete a census with pages and pages to tell them about me when I matter not. I tick a box which helps decide a countries future for 4 years. The box I tick then assumes I agree with all the policies of that faction. Red, Green, Blue or Brown. How is that democracy? I pay my taxes without being allowed an opinion. I guess that it is the only way they all get to stay in power and we just have to go along with what they say. Is it the idiots to the left or to the right. Either way a well paid job and a nice pension just to sit in the halls of power and heckle abuse like yobs but in suits. As you say why should we pay for so many of the duly elected or not. WirralAl
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Thu 10 Jan 13

nivekd says...

Indeed! Blue Tories and Blue Blairites - don't trust them.
Indeed! Blue Tories and Blue Blairites - don't trust them. nivekd
  • Score: 0

5:50pm Thu 10 Jan 13

PaulCa says...

Steve Foulkes had his Special Responsibility Allowance boosted by 26% in 2003.

Er.... I rest my case.
Steve Foulkes had his Special Responsibility Allowance boosted by 26% in 2003. Er.... I rest my case. PaulCa
  • Score: 0

11:25am Fri 11 Jan 13

hildebrand says...

actually the US has tens of thousands of City Councils, with elected councillors. They also have a dizzying array of tiers of government.
actually the US has tens of thousands of City Councils, with elected councillors. They also have a dizzying array of tiers of government. hildebrand
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Positive thinker says...

Give them a pay rise,we might be
surprised
Give them a pay rise,we might be surprised Positive thinker
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Sun 13 Jan 13

bickyboy says...

Look at the chaotic shambles which is Merseytravel's policy on tunnel fees, and then take a look at the expenses being claimed by Labour councillors on the committee. More expenses doesn't automatically equate to better performance.

Genuinely committed councillors will always do the very best job in return for the basic allowances; we won't get any more work out of the small number of shirkers if we pay them more money.
Look at the chaotic shambles which is Merseytravel's policy on tunnel fees, and then take a look at the expenses being claimed by Labour councillors on the committee. More expenses doesn't automatically equate to better performance. Genuinely committed councillors will always do the very best job in return for the basic allowances; we won't get any more work out of the small number of shirkers if we pay them more money. bickyboy
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Sun 13 Jan 13

LocaLGovwatcher says...

Positive thinker wrote:
Give them a pay rise,we might be
surprised
From a sitting Councillor, I wonder?
Nothing is too good for WBC Councillors and that is exactly what they are worth to Wirral residents - nothing.
[quote][p][bold]Positive thinker[/bold] wrote: Give them a pay rise,we might be surprised[/p][/quote]From a sitting Councillor, I wonder? Nothing is too good for WBC Councillors and that is exactly what they are worth to Wirral residents - nothing. LocaLGovwatcher
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Sun 13 Jan 13

PaulCa says...

Wirral councillors were given an up to 36% pay rise back in July 2002 in extremely suspicious circumstances.

It was all very incestuous and they called in a local government consultant, Don Latham, and paid him £2,000 per meeting, perhaps to irk council tax payers and rub it in a little more.

Don himself must have thought all his Christmases had arrived at once and was travelling up and down the country coining it in on a whistlestop tour of £naive local authorities.

I found an old satirical piece and the details are reproduced here. All the figures quoted are absolutely genuine. Back then, very few people checked in on the council website to see what these people were getting up to.

http://tinyurl.com/a
m39d4m

Obvious conclusion. If they were propped up to the tune of 36% more of our hard earned back in 2002 - and the place has descended into a basket case ever since - then they need up to 36% taking back off them to restore our confidence and return us to pre-2002 standards of probity / integrity.
Wirral councillors were given an up to 36% pay rise back in July 2002 in extremely suspicious circumstances. It was all very incestuous and they called in a local government consultant, Don Latham, and paid him £2,000 per meeting, perhaps to irk council tax payers and rub it in a little more. Don himself must have thought all his Christmases had arrived at once and was travelling up and down the country coining it in on a whistlestop tour of £naive local authorities. I found an old satirical piece and the details are reproduced here. All the figures quoted are absolutely genuine. Back then, very few people checked in on the council website to see what these people were getting up to. http://tinyurl.com/a m39d4m Obvious conclusion. If they were propped up to the tune of 36% more of our hard earned back in 2002 - and the place has descended into a basket case ever since - then they need up to 36% taking back off them to restore our confidence and return us to pre-2002 standards of probity / integrity. PaulCa
  • Score: 0

9:38am Mon 14 Jan 13

Hugo1008 says...

Simple equation, how does more money make any MP or for that matter Local Councillor, Honest, Trustworthy, Open, Clean , and Fair.

If we don't have that now why pay more for something we do need, a parasite that feeds of the public purse whilst contributing non of the characteristics required.

Very adequately demonstrated by our local Councillors here on Wirral, all that has been supplied for many years now is Lies, Deceit, Mismanagement, Poor Judgement, Pay Offs, Scandal, No Accountability, Discredit Senior Management, Behind Closed Door Decisions, Bullying, Oppression, and Whitewash with copious amounts of suppression of real honest information.

Earning WBC the title of the worst managed and poorest led Borough Council in the whole of Great Britain in terms of Governance.
Simple equation, how does more money make any MP or for that matter Local Councillor, Honest, Trustworthy, Open, Clean , and Fair. If we don't have that now why pay more for something we do need, a parasite that feeds of the public purse whilst contributing non of the characteristics required. Very adequately demonstrated by our local Councillors here on Wirral, all that has been supplied for many years now is Lies, Deceit, Mismanagement, Poor Judgement, Pay Offs, Scandal, No Accountability, Discredit Senior Management, Behind Closed Door Decisions, Bullying, Oppression, and Whitewash with copious amounts of suppression of real honest information. Earning WBC the title of the worst managed and poorest led Borough Council in the whole of Great Britain in terms of Governance. Hugo1008
  • Score: 0

10:04am Mon 14 Jan 13

uncatom says...

LocaLGovwatcher wrote:
Positive thinker wrote:
Give them a pay rise,we might be
surprised
From a sitting Councillor, I wonder?
Nothing is too good for WBC Councillors and that is exactly what they are worth to Wirral residents - nothing.
No LG its a post from our very own troll
[quote][p][bold]LocaLGovwatcher[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Positive thinker[/bold] wrote: Give them a pay rise,we might be surprised[/p][/quote]From a sitting Councillor, I wonder? Nothing is too good for WBC Councillors and that is exactly what they are worth to Wirral residents - nothing.[/p][/quote]No LG its a post from our very own troll uncatom
  • Score: 0

1:36pm Wed 16 Jan 13

woodyres2 says...

I have to say our 3 labour councillors are useless !! I would not like to see them even getting one penny more of my hard earned money ....

Over the years I can honestly say they have NEVER resolved any problems I have brought to them, nor those of anyone that I know.

You just need to look at the shocking state of the roads on the Woody, the antisocial behaviour around the shops in Hoole Road, lamposts being cut down all over the place, requests for grit bins just ignored, nothing being done to resolve the amount of traffic that cuts through the estate to avoid all the traffic lights at Asda & Arrowe Park - I could go on, but i think you get the message.

The idea of them getting more in allowances makes me furious, our Councillors cannot even bother to come to community meetings, always sending apologies, and the volunteer community members sitting there with no-one from the Council to bring their concerns to.
I have to say our 3 labour councillors are useless !! I would not like to see them even getting one penny more of my hard earned money .... Over the years I can honestly say they have NEVER resolved any problems I have brought to them, nor those of anyone that I know. You just need to look at the shocking state of the roads on the Woody, the antisocial behaviour around the shops in Hoole Road, lamposts being cut down all over the place, requests for grit bins just ignored, nothing being done to resolve the amount of traffic that cuts through the estate to avoid all the traffic lights at Asda & Arrowe Park - I could go on, but i think you get the message. The idea of them getting more in allowances makes me furious, our Councillors cannot even bother to come to community meetings, always sending apologies, and the volunteer community members sitting there with no-one from the Council to bring their concerns to. woodyres2
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Wed 16 Jan 13

Marjestic says...

I remember when local councillors were prepared to serve their communities and didn't get paid at all. I agree that an allowance is appropriate and some expenses to those councillors who provide a service and give a good account of themselves but there are those who think of it purely as a nice little earner.
I remember when local councillors were prepared to serve their communities and didn't get paid at all. I agree that an allowance is appropriate and some expenses to those councillors who provide a service and give a good account of themselves but there are those who think of it purely as a nice little earner. Marjestic
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Wed 16 Jan 13

LocaLGovwatcher says...

Marjestic wrote:
I remember when local councillors were prepared to serve their communities and didn't get paid at all. I agree that an allowance is appropriate and some expenses to those councillors who provide a service and give a good account of themselves but there are those who think of it purely as a nice little earner.
It appears to me that the current breed of WBC councillors consider their service to be of the self variety. Would any of them be prepared to serve without any financial gain? A distinct no comes to mind.
[quote][p][bold]Marjestic[/bold] wrote: I remember when local councillors were prepared to serve their communities and didn't get paid at all. I agree that an allowance is appropriate and some expenses to those councillors who provide a service and give a good account of themselves but there are those who think of it purely as a nice little earner.[/p][/quote]It appears to me that the current breed of WBC councillors consider their service to be of the self variety. Would any of them be prepared to serve without any financial gain? A distinct no comes to mind. LocaLGovwatcher
  • Score: 0

9:08am Thu 17 Jan 13

woodyres2 says...

Marjestic wrote:
I remember when local councillors were prepared to serve their communities and didn't get paid at all. I agree that an allowance is appropriate and some expenses to those councillors who provide a service and give a good account of themselves but there are those who think of it purely as a nice little earner.
I agree & it is very frustrating when they use hard working community volunteers to do the hard work for them, and then take all the credit.
[quote][p][bold]Marjestic[/bold] wrote: I remember when local councillors were prepared to serve their communities and didn't get paid at all. I agree that an allowance is appropriate and some expenses to those councillors who provide a service and give a good account of themselves but there are those who think of it purely as a nice little earner.[/p][/quote]I agree & it is very frustrating when they use hard working community volunteers to do the hard work for them, and then take all the credit. woodyres2
  • Score: 0

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