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Wirral councillor turns his back on perks of the job
A RE-ELECTED Wirral councillor has told town hall chiefs not to bother giving him the usual perks of the job and to spend the cash instead on public services.
Councillor Ian Lewis, who regained Leasowe ward in a recent by-election, informed bosses he doesn’t want "a free iPad, computer desk and chair, mobile phone, car parking passes, tickets to Tranmere Rovers or travel expenses."
Nor will he require the borough’s Community Patrol to spend their valuable time delivering his town hall mail to his home – apparently another perk of the job.
His cost-saving stance will no doubt be warmly welcomed by the other 65 elected members of the council who next month will be attending a meeting at which a staggering £41m of spending reductions will be made.
These cuts will be the first tranche in a programme that will axe £107m from the authority's budget over the next three years.
In an open letter to the council’s chief executive Graham Burgess, Cllr Lewis explained his reasons for turning down the freebies: “I believe councillors should be leading by example and, while I appreciate it will not plug the gap in the council’s budget, nor will I add to it.
"As you may be aware, the possible purchase of 66 iPads for councillors was also an issue during the by-election and around 500 electors have signed petition cards against what I also consider to be a waste of public funds."
And he revealed: “On the night of the election, I was given a letter by the acting head of law inviting me to meet the ‘Council’s Member Development and Training Team’ to discuss my training ‘needs’".
He was also offered "a one-to-one meeting to discuss my ‘Personal Development Plan’; details of the ‘Council’s Induction Programme’, opportunities through something called the ‘Skills for Wirral Councillors Programme’ and last but not least, a Code of Conduct training session.
“Due to the financial difficulties the council finds itself in, I shall only attend what is a legal requirement.”