Monday, 28 June 2010

Pay rise for Labour

I am a member of the City Council's Constitutional Issues Committee. This sounds quite dull and in truth we do often spend a lot of time on what non politicians would consider tedious detail.

Not tomorrow however.

At the very last minute (ie less than 24 hours before the Committee is due to meet) we get the report linked to one of the agenda items.

And in it - the proposal for a huge boost in the Labour Leader's allowances.

Labour want to double this so that Joe Anderson would get a special allowance on top of his councillors allowance which adds up to more than £50,000.

They argue that he is a full time Leader. That is certainly true. But that is also his choice. If I take a job paid a certain amount and voluntarily put in more hours (like many of us do if we are honest) then I actually don't expect my employer to suddenly bung me some more cash.

There may be an argument for paying a City Council leader more. But it is an argument that needs to be made by a proper analysis of the role which has to be about more than what someone has chosen to do. And a proper analysis and discussion requires more than 24 hours notice.

The Committee tomorrow has a majority of Labour members on it so this proposal will almost definitely go through. We will have our say but they will outvote us. And when the proposal goes to Council for the actual decision, again they will outvote us.

I actually don't want us to spend ages talking about what people are paid. And I don't think constituents want us to spend time on this either. But we can't just let this one go. At a time when many are facing difficulties, this is a bad decision both in principle and in implementation.

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