Having watched some of council meeting last Thursday, I saw the debate on councillors allowances, and I have to say I am deeply disappointed.
In an year which has seen Southend’s budget slashed by the government by £11m, how unedifying to see councillor after councillor to stand up to defend their own allowances and benefits.
I cannot decide what was worse. Perhaps the Conservative Group voting nearly on mass to hold onto their taxpayer-funded printers, rather than travel in to the Civic Centre for their free printing. Or perhaps Independent councillors Mike Stafford and Brian Ayling fighting to keep their allowances as committee chairs, equivalent to some £1,000 per meeting.
If only they fought as hard for their constituents.
On the other hand, credit is due to the Labour group for voting as a whole not to reward themselves as Southend residents suffer cuts to vital services; and to the cabinet for rejecting a wholly inappropriate 5% rise in their own allowances.
I would urge all voters in Southend to watch the webcast, and see how their representatives respond when asked to make sacrifices themselves. The truth is very revealing.