In times of austerity, when Reading Borough Council (RBC) are struggling to finance basic services, the one-off uplift in special responsibility allowances (SRA) which will be proposed at tonight’s RBC full council meeting looks like a greedy move which is difficult to accept.
Councillors are also reserving the right to future increases, and the difficult moment of voting on their remuneration every year, by linking to the local government pay settlement. A phased introduction of increases would be more appropriate.
The new intake of younger councillors and potential future councillors may feel encouraged to pursue a career in local politics by this move, which will put Reading on an equal footing with our neighbouring authorities at a stroke.
To quote Connie “my spoon is going into the gravy, my snout is going into the trough. I’m having some of that.”
It has been known for many years that the SRAs of Reading councillors are comparatively low but until now, for example in March 2018, the remuneration panel has not always recommended an increase. Why has an increase been recommended now? Is it because in October 2018, RBC appointed three new members to vacant positions on the remuneration panel: Lady Audrey Durant, Linda Fort and Mick Pollek? They joined the two then members Francis Connolly and Dick Taylor.
It will be interesting to watch how the opposition parties react to this proposal at the council meeting and if they do not agree with the proposed increases are they able to waive the increase in their own case?
- Leader and lead councillors’ allowances set to increase by 183%
- Full council meeting 25 June 2019 – papers & webcast
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