Friday 19 June 2009

Conservative council leads by example

Conservative Home website reports that Devon County Council, where the Conservatives won control two weeks ago, is slashing the allowances paid to councillors by £80,000 a year. According to the report:

Savings include a freeze on basic allowances, scrapping a scrutiny committee which paid allowances to its chairman and vice chairman and which duplicated other committees, scrapping allowances for six councillors to support the executive councillors, reducing the leader's special responsibility allowance from £27,425 a year to £25,000 and that of the deputy leader from £21,940 to £20,000.

Of course the £80,000 saving in the context of the total Council budget is tiny. That is not the point. By making savings themselves the Council leadership will be emboldened in seeking them elsewhere. The new Council leader Cllr John Hart has pledged to “getting tough on administrative costs and waste wherever we can.”
Barnet Council also has a leader who claims to be tough on cost cutting, yet Mike Freer flew business class to America at our expense and gave his buddy Brian Coleman a £10,000 legal indemnity to hire a top legal firm even though the council’s insurers were willing to provide a free solicitor. Freer also allowed senior officers to go on junkets to the south of France, spend tens of thousands on wide screen televisions, and most recently spend £31,000 on a room booking system which could have been bought for just £2,000.

Can you imagine Freer or Coleman agreeing to vote themselves a reduction in their allowances? Between them, they actually make some MPs seem quite frugal.


Rog T said...

Interesting call on The Ken Livingstone show on LBC this morning. As each listener phoned he'd give them details of their MP's expenses. A lady from Guildford rang up. Ken then asked her what she tought of what her MP, Anne Milton had been up to. The lady said she hadn't heard. Ken replied "Well she's a saint, she hasn't claimed a penny, she's lived soley on her wages". The lady replied "I thought that's what they were all supposed to do".

Have a look at her site. It is rather different to some I could mention

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Anne Milton has a very small majority but clearly deserves to be returned with a bigger one next time. If she can do her job on the basic salary, they all can.

Rog T said...


Having briefly checked out a few details on Anne Milton, she seems to be one of a small number of mp's who deserve to be elected with a bigger majority. I am sure there are a few others, but Anne Milton is probably one MP, who I could vote for with a clear conscience and explain why with a pure heart. Good for her.

If I were Cameron I'd promoter her tomorrow. Interestingly Ken Livingstone also had the former head of the standards authority on. He was introduced as having been given the sack for asking too many awkward questions and doing too good a job. I know you are not a Ken fan, but it seems to me as if he's one of a very small number of politicians who understands how sick we are of our political masters. I know your views on Ken, but his populist instincts are pretty sound and I'd suggest that Tories would be wise to take note

Don't Call Me Dave said...


Ken reminds me of Tony Benn. These days Our Wedgie is considered not only a constitutional expert but a protector of freedom and democracy. However, some of us are old enough to remember that when he was a Labour Government Minister, he came up with some ideas which were not only barking mad, but completely undemocratic.

Perhaps losing power is liberating! I am not one of these people who thinks that everything Ken did as Mayor and leader of the GLC was wrong, but he says he wants to run for Mayor again in 2012, so I am not in a rush to embrace Livingstonism!

Anonymous said...

At least Freer decided not to take his increase unlike other councillors!

I wish I could log in by the way but it says my password is not recognised!

Don't Call Me Dave said...


You are correct that Mike Freer has decided not to take a rise in his Barnet allowance this year, but it didn’t stop him voting for an increase in the first place!

Given that Freer rakes in over £70,000 a year from the taxpayer, we are sure he will somehow survive not taking an increase this year.