Austerity?: Labour Council to vote – £90k on political assistants it cannot afford!


Cllr Banwait signals to the electorate

The Labour Council has been unrelenting in its pursuit of the rhetoric about Tory Government cuts. Funding has been so severely shaved that vital services and public events have had to be cut….even public toilets, Xmas lights switch on etc.

I reported last week about the £60,000 that was passed by Cabinet, to be spent on a Communications Consultant. Cllr Banwait, when challenged, provided an unconvincing and “bizarre” response. This was the behaviour of a man defending the indefensible.  £60k that the Council clearly could not afford….on something that would give ZERO benefit to the Council Tax payers

Now, on the 23rd November the Labour Council is proposing to spend a further £90k on 2 political assistants who, also, will benefit the Council Tax payers by ZERO.

Cllr Banwait is justifying this on the basis that it was an indirect recommendation of Grant Thornton’s Public Interest Report from June 2016.

3.1 Following the recommendations of Grant Thornton’s Report in the Public Interest
(PIR), it is considered appropriate to review the support received by elected members
and to consider the means by which it is delivered.

3.2 The PIR raised concerns regarding member and officer relations. The appointment of
Political Assistants would provide a statutory basis on which dedicated support can be
delivered to political groups, with a view to strengthening overall governance.

This is not a mandated appointment, and perhaps if his personal behaviour was more co-operative and transparent , these would not be required.

The cost, whilst not much to the overall Council budget, is significant to, for example,  the Voluntary Sector organisations that he has cut by 100%, and decimated.

This spend of £90k is not dictated by the Tory Govt – it is this Council’s decisions – this is £90k that they can ill-afford to spend. They will have to cut services to fund these salaries…if you believe their rhetoric.

To repeat my previous assertions – it’s about CHOICES. This Council is making this CHOICE! In the same way that it is making CHOICES to cut services, and other vital programmes.

The full details of the agenda item are here





Categories: Finances

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