Today the Independent (not council) Remuneration Panel published its Report. The IRP has spent the last few months interviewing and collating data on what a Cornwall Councillor should be paid. This Panel has no connection to the Council.
Some months ago a questionnaire was sent out to all Councillors. Failing that copies were available from the Member Support Officer (Sarah) She is like a Mother. She will hear your moans, gripes and general inquiries. She listens like a mother would. Sometimes saying yes, good idea, but other times she give you that look like a mother would meaning “stupid boy”.
Sadly out of 123 Councillors, only 53 did indeed fill in an return this questionnaire. You would think those others would have taken the time to fill in something that will effect them. Maybe they don’t care, but I hope those who did not complete it don’t regret taking 30 mins or so to complete this.
Here is the report going to Full Council (Cornwall Council).
Now this was always going to be a difficult decision when it comes to money and you (The Councillors) are the ones who have to vote for it. I think this should be taken out of our hands with a fully independent pay/allowance body. That way it will be free from any Political influence.
For me this is my only form of income. Its a full time job for me. It does not give me scope to find other forms of income. I could work at night, but then I will never see my son who lives with me part of the time. All I want is a living wage. I think the small increase to £14k is justifiable. Many others might agree or disagree. I will vote and will speak on this matter during the debate. I will give my reasons why I will be voting in a certain way.
Every member of the Council should have a free vote on this matter. Sadly I don’t think this will happen. I believe some people will try and play Politics on this. Maybe from their Whips, Leaders or the Party HQ.
Maybe if there was a living wage then more people would indeed stand for election. There are lot’s of younger people who would love to be involved, but just could not afford to do it. Maybe we should think long on hard on this. Serving the community should not be the exclusive right of the Retired or those of Independent Means.
If you look at the make up of the Council only a few are under the age of 40. About 3 under 30 (the youngest is 21) The rest I would call near or at the retirement age. Is this a correct reflection or the people of Cornwall? I for one don’t think so. We should do more to encourage people to enter Local Government, but if they can’t afford to even live, then we will never encourage people in.
One thing that is going to happen is a lively and emotive debate.