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The start of allowances; Your say.

RE the letters expressing disquiet at high the level of payments to local councillors, it is appropriate to draw attention to who/why this practice was started - the benevolence, yet again, of Tony Blair and his Labour government whose mindset was to throw money at everything.

Prior to the Labour introduction of set allowances for councillors (plus responsibility allowances), local councillors were quite rightly entitled to reimbursement for time lost from their employment and justifiable travelling expenses.

As a direct result of Labour largess and the introduction of council cabinets (and the political patronage involved), we now have an expensive second tier of part time paid politicians.

It is common place now for some lead councillors to receive payments of pounds 20,000, not unusual for some to receive pounds 35,000, many are able to claim more.

I would draw attention to Liberal Democratic Councillor Julia Cherrett's statement (4.1.12) that the "allowances need to be at such a level etc."

Prior to Labour''s willingness to spend public monies county/ borough councils were not comprised of "older, retired people with good pensions who can afford to represent their local communities."

What we had, and fortunately there are still some left, were voluntary public spirited individuals of merit, experience and good intent.

For those who advocate that higher councillors' remuneration equates to an enhanced desired outcome for the public, I invite, look around you.

MALCOLM S GRIFFITHS, Chairman South Tees Conservative Association, Guisborough
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2012
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