Back in April 2009 I wrote a piece “Councillors join the gravy train” pointing out the ludicrous rise in councillors remuneration in recent years.
Now, despite a demand from the Government for councils to allow public scrutiny of senior local authority officials pay and benefits, Councils have resisted the order. The reason – it would lead to a public outcry- that “it could lead to personalised attacks” … officials “families could be at risk of abuse” etc etc. I don’t know about you but that has eyebrows raised in my house – just how big a scandal is this if Councils think the public reaction to seeing who is being paid exactly what, will be that extreme ? My oh my what are they hiding? Just how big IS this latest scandal.
It was obvious. Following the MP expenses scandal, public service officials income and benefits needed greater transparency. As part of a “cleaning up of politics” process, the Government, rightly, sought to make public the pay and benefits, allowances and pay-offs of local authority officials earning over £50,000. Its much harder to pay over-inflated salaries and above inflation pay rises when the voters can see what you are doing and who is getting what.
So how come the Government has apparantly backed off from this demand? Following, the frankly ludicrous bleating of councils as to why they should not let the voters see the figures, they have somehow won ! The government has accepted that only those local government officials earning over £150,000 will be identified (thats still over 100 of them). Allowing thousands of senior local authority officials to continue hiding behind anonymity.
And not only are many local authority officials on astonishingly high incomes – they have been getting huge pay rises a over the last couple of years as the rest of Britain suffers.
It’s a disgrace. And something that we, as taxpayers, should not put up with. If officials can’t justify the salaries and benefits they are on – they shouldn’t be getting it.