Rotten Boroughs : Cambridge County Council

Anger is growing among council workers about a vote to give Cambridgeshire County Councillors a 25 per cent pay rise.

The Unison union picketted the Council’s meeting on Tuesday, which considered spending £165,000 more every year on councillors’ allowances.

Under proposals recommended by an independent panel, the basic allowance would increase from £7,610 to £9,500 – a 25 per cent increase – while special responsibility payments for holding cabinet posts or chairing committees would also increase.

The council leader, Cllr Nick Clarke, would be eligible to claim a package worth £38,000 a year. Cllr Clarke says he wants to “break down barriers” which stop people standing for election.

But Terry Parr, Unison’s county branch secretary, said the timing was wrong. He said: “We do understand the view that if local democracy is to prosper then candidates for council membership need to have different backgrounds and life experiences and remuneration of elected members is one way to achieve that end.

“However, it would appear to be incredibly insensitive to suggest these increases now when local government employees are losing their jobs, having their pay frozen, and probably having to work longer and pay more for a smaller pension.

“To then go on and justify this in recognition of councillors doing more with less is doubly insulting because employees are being expected to do more for less every day.”

I don’t often agree with union leaders – especially left wing militants like Unison – but you have to admit they have a point.

Yet another case of one rule for them and another for us…

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