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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

At Full Council (Thursday 17th March 2016) the councillor allowances for 2016-17 were approved.

Here is the link to the new 'pay scale" for 2016-17.


And here is the link to the allowances for 2015-16.


No time tonight to do a full analysis, but have done the maths for the Leader and the Cabinet's special allowance.

An extra £2,093 for the Leader - from 31,497 to 33,590

An extra £1,569 for Cabinet - from 23,622 to 25,191

Which I make a 6.6% increase.

The basic councillor allowance increases £203 from 10,500 to 10,703, A modest 1.9%.

I may say more on this, but for now will leave you to take in what councillors have chosen to do as the same time as many across the borough are facing financial hardship.

Tags for Forum Posts: councillor allowances, fat cat councillors, haringey councillors

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Well MPs are paid so I can't see why the local network of representatives to our democratic system (councillors) shouldn't be as well.

I partly agree, Don. As a councillor I received an allowance and it enabled me to do things such as buy a computer and a camera and pay for postage and phone calls etc.
One question though is how much should the allowances be?  If it becomes in effect a salaried career then we change the nature of the system.
A second question is how much we expect from elected councillors and how much time they actually give. Plainly your partner was an assiduous councillor. It may not surprise you if I say that not everyone I've met had the same devotion to the job.

A third point - particularly at the present time - is when should elected reps forego an increase because other people are losing their jobs and having a pay freeze or an actual pay cut?

I don't remember a time in Haringey when things were run by Lady this and Sir Somebody that. Nor do I see any evidence put forward that there was an insufficient cross-section of people. Admittedly that's my impressionistic view.
We have a tradition in Britain of people undertaking civic duties largely as volunteers. These roles are also time-consuming, responsible and often onerous. People like JPs, school governors, and trustees of charities are not salaried. Though they can and sometimes do get expenses.
Haringey councillors' allowances were held for several years. In my view that could and should have continued while the current brutal cuts go on. 

I recently spent a day reading through the consultation responses to the proposed cuts to Adult Care. There were hundreds of pages. Including some photocopies of handwritten letters. Some touching. Some desperate.
As I read, several repeated themes emerged. It was clear that a range of different people understood that the Council's money had been drastically reduced by the Government and that cuts had to be found.
But in different ways different people also expressed cynicism that the consultation was genuine and  doubts that their views would be properly considered. People mentioned the waste of money on the logo and other vanity projects.
Overall there seemed to be a distrust of the Council and of councillors. And I don't think that's any surprise either.
There seems to be a growing lack of trust and confidence in elected politicians from the established parties. An undercurrent which it's not far-fetched to see echoed elsewhere in the UK and in other countries. I think that draining of trust is dangerous for our civic culture.

Matt: Yes, it's partly what I had in mind when I said "while this model of local government continues". Given the scale and cost of running a London borough, and the legal responsibility councillors ultimately carry (after all, they can be penalised or even jailed if they get it wrong), it's arguable that governance by volunteers is an outdated model of local democracy. But what would the salaries be and where would the money come from? With 50+ Haringey councillors, the annual bill might easily top £2.5 million if the pay was enough to get good people; though probably with full-time councillors you wouldn't need as many per ward, so maybe you could halve the headcount and get away with around £1.25 million. But it's still far more than the allowances paid at the moment. 

Put corporation tax back up a couple of % points and as lots of people keep saying, have the many bigger businesses actually pay some corporation tax, use some of this to pay for our local democracy.



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