Call for Councillor Expenses Hike “A Disgrace”

Plans to boost local councillors’ allowances by 2.3% were condemned as “a disgrace” today (14 July) by West Midlands UNISON, the largest public service union in the region. 

The Local Government Association (LGA), who is recommending the increase, is also calling for councillors to get paid a daily rate of £152.77 to attend LGA meetings.

Roger McKenzie, UNISON’s regional secretary, said:

“This expenses hike is a disgrace.  What a slap in the face for hard working council staff across our region, who have not been offered a single penny pay increase this year.

Rising inflation, coupled with a pay freeze, is effectively a pay cut for workers already struggling to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads.  In contrast to civil servants and other public sector workers, local government employers are refusing to give staff paid under £21,000, including nursery workers, home carers, housing workers, leisure and parks staff, school meals and cleaners, the £250 pay rise promised in the emergency budget. Where is the justice in that?
  
Councillors should be holding the town halls in our region to account and making sure taxpayers get good value for money. Those taxpayers would be right to ask why councillors are enjoying hikes in expenses, while workers and our increasingly hard pressed communities are left out in the cold?  Across the West Midlands council workers face massive job losses and communities are losing vital services they rely on.

For the LGA to publish two sets of guidelines on the same day - one suggesting that councillors get a rise and another condemning workers to a pay freeze - is shocking.”