The truth behind the mayor’s £100,000

8th December, 2011

Ross Willmott

Yesterday the submissions by the City and Deputy City Mayor to the Independent panel on members allowances were released, along with others. They make for interesting reading.

It is clear that both the mayor and deputy were arguing for considerable increases from their current level of allowances. So the amount of surprise when the panels findings were released does now look rather strange.

“The City mayor suggested that a key aspect was very strong personal responsibility for the office holder for the actions of a very large and complex organisation, as a unitary authority, for an extremely large range of functions and not a single service, such as health care. As such he was not aware of any comparable posts and as a former MP did not see the post as comparable”.

He considered an appropriate comparator to the post of police commissioner on £122,000.

The Deputy mayor “felt that the role was unique and could not be compared with the previous system or that of Deputy leader, He suggested that it was similar to that of a ‘chief of staff” He also used the police commissioner figure of £122,000 for comparison, agreeing for the “deputy remuneration being set at 75-80% of the City Mayor”

“The Deputy City mayor saw the role as having power and influence greater than that of an MP” and made an 8 page submission supporting a large increase.

At one level it is understandable that the Mayor and deputy should argue for increases, if they didn’t who would. Indeed in my Submission to allowances panel to the panel I saw an argument for an increase in the Mayor’s allowance of £10,000 taking it to the level of an MP at £65,000, and some small increases in scrutiny allowances, although I would personally not accept any increase at this time. However I made it clear that “we are in difficult financial times and ……..in the end it will be up to politicians to decide if the climate enables us to implement the findings (increases)”

But what seems to have been forgotten is that we are politicians, and they are the  elected leaders of our city. Everything they and we do is political. It cannot be politically acceptable to argue for  110% increases in pay when 1000 staff are potentially being made redundant. When the council is facing cuts of £30million this year and much more to come. These increases are far too large and out of all proportion.

It is a mistake to think that because the panel is independent, somehow its findings magically become acceptable. In the end we decide how much to pay ourselves. The public know this and we have to show restraint in these circumstances.

I have supported modest increases and continue to do so. I do not believe that people should lose out by holding public office. Hence my support for the pay of the mayor being the same as for an MP. It was interesting to listen to the Radio Leicester phone in. When listener’s average was worked out it came to £65k. Exactly the figure I was suggesting!

If that had been agreed the whole matter would now be over. Instead it will continue for months to come.

 


 

Back to page top

Leave a comment

Your name is required
Your email is required
 

Your email will not be published

A comment is required
 

Please fill out the form in full

send

Please correct the errors as indicated

Comments

  1. Kulgan of Crydee

    8th December, 2011

    I don’t normally agree with Mr Willmott but the points raised here are perfectly valid.

    What’s worse is the lack of leadership from the executive. The Mayor of Doncaster (comparable responsibility) shows great leadership by only taking salary of £30k PA. He leads by example.

    Also, the independence has been called into question of the independent panel making these recommendations. The perception of impropriety can be as damaging as actual impropriety.

    The whole thing has been handled very badly and no wonder the people of Leicester were up in arms about it.

  2. Hemant

    8th December, 2011

    I totally agree with your assessment that it should have been 65K for the elected mayor, in line with that of an MP.

Back to page top