Feb 16 2015

Snouts in the Troff: Councillors to Vote on 2.2% Allowances Increase

harrow_council_logoSpotted in the papers for this week’s cabinet meeting:

The proposed Members’ Allowances scheme for 2015/16 is attached at Appendix 13. This has been prepared having regard to the report of the Independent Panel that considered the Remuneration of Councillors in London. It is proposed that the basic allowance and the different bands of Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) and Mayoral Allowances, which have been in place since 2009/2010, be uprated in line with the Local Government Pay Settlement (2.2%) from those agreed in 2014/15.

Or, in other words, the basic allowance for a councillor – regardless of how little work he or she does – will increase from £8160 to £8340 per year. Dave Perry, in his role as Leader of the Council, will see his allowance swell even further: the additional allowance for leader, on top of the basic allowance, jumps from £30799 to £31400 – an extra £600 on top of the basic increase of £180.

Given the huge numbers of people standing for election every few years, it seems that there is hardly a shortage of people wanting to ‘do their bit’ for the community, and thus, it’s a little strange why there’s any need for councillors to give themselves a 2.2% pay rise – especially with the oft-repeated noise from the council about cutting services. Trebles all round, as Private Eye would say!

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  1. Anne Jones

    May I ask did the Councillors vote on this issue & if so did any abstain (two imparticular).

    1. iharrow.com

      It’s up for recommendation on Thursday, and then to be put forward to Council later on in the month. I’d be surprised if it garnered any objection, although I suspect the Conservatives would object on principle, knowing it’ll make no difference. They’d thus be seen to be objecting, but would be safe in the knowledge that they’d be outvoted and still get the money. The two independents might make a lot of noise about it, but again, if that felt that strongly, they could always simply donate the 2.2% to a local charity… Let’s see.

      1. Anne Jones

        You read my mind re: donation

  2. Emma

    Paul – it’s a little unfair to tar all councillors with the same brush. Some, like Susan Hall, have worked tirelessly for us in respect of the expansion of Grimsdyke school, which I notice you’ve also covered today. However, there are many councillors, of both parties, which do nothing, say nothing, hear nothing. It is these you should target, not a scattergun approach proclaiming all councillors have their ‘snouts in the troff.’

  3. Jake

    The Conservatives could always voluntarily ask for their share of the increase to be donated into a charitable pot or similar. Why do I doubt that will happen?

  4. PraxisReform

    I’m going to sound like a stuck record here, but we surely don’t need 63 Councillors to cover the whole borough…

    1) The invention of the internet, email and mobile phones means that Councillors (theoretically) should be less difficult for Officials to get hold of at short notice, whilst emails and databases etc. mean that documents and information no longer need to be posted to, or collected by, the Councillors.

    2) Electronic documents can be read anywhere if the respective Councillor is prepared to invest in a tablet computer etc. Or they can be printed out and read on the train to work, rather than Councillors having to sit about at home, waiting for the postman. This also avoids any problems with documents that have been badly photocopied, lost in the post or contain very small / strange typefaces.

    3) Historically, few of Harrow’s Councillors even pop their heads above the proverbial parapet to let us know what (if anything) they are doing, whilst a significant minority prefer to use the position to become criminals rather than promote the interests of the borough.

    4) From what I’ve seen of Council meetings, many Councillors appear to have extreme difficulties forming coherent sentences and speaking in Public.

    5) The transfer away from the Council of many of it’s responsibilities to the GLA means that there is less work for everyone at the council.

    6) The number of services being “outsourced” to private companies where Councillors then have no control over the work being carried out, again means even less work for them to keep on top of.

    So, surely 21 Councillors would be plenty enough for the borough, which would also generate savings of £350,280

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