Oliff’s Life

It's time to pay councillors a proper wage, says Richard
It's time to pay councillors a proper wage, says Richard

Serving the public good is something to be admired.

Some people appear almost to have an innate talent, calling if you will, to work day in and day out on town, borough or county councils in order to ensure nationally allotted taxpayer funding is spent wisely on a local level to the benefit of all, and as part of the British democratic process.

Yet our elected local councillors receive pathetically low amounts of compensation for the work we expect them to do.

These “allowances” range from as little as £475 per year to as high as, wait for it, £10,000 to £13,000 according to Corby Council’s website.

If we were to take this as the first port of call for anyone wishing to enter the political arena then we must surely assume that money cannot possibly be their motivating factor.

So what is it that stirs one, anyone, to make a stand for any political party at a local level?

More importantly, what do we as citizens truly expect in return when our local representatives are “paid” such ridiculously low sums for the job in hand?

Many of our representatives do other jobs then devote any spare time to council business, hence the word “allowance” as opposed to “pay” or “salary”.

My belief is that our local needs in a modern and complex world demand more attention from our representatives at both borough and county levels with full-time, properly paid councillors at the helm.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand we need to be able to provide these full-time posts – but how could we possibly offer such subsidy?

Yet if we do nothing we will continue to get precisely what it currently says on the tin: part-time.

This half-hearted representation at any level can never truly embody the views or needs of any population.