At a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council last Friday, every single Conservative and Lib Dem county councillor present voted to give themselves an exponential 23% payrise, amounting to an extra £2,000 a year of taxpayers’ money each.
Every single Labour County Councillor present voted against the payrise. However, because of the balance of power in the County Council, the vote was passed and the payrise will come into effect from May.
In the context of the cuts which those same councillors have voted to inflict on residents, this is nothing short of obscene.
Since 2010, the Conservative-controlled County Council have voted through large-scale and swingeing cuts, all in the name of saving public money. They’ve cut adult social care, affecting thousands of people in the County.
They’ve shut 8 care homes. They’ve cut youth services and youth centres, buses and education support staff. They’ve also cut jobs – over 1,000 in fact.
But apparently the same money-saving imperative doesn’t apply when it comes to their own pockets.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only example of clear double standards from local elected representatives that we have seen recently. Our Conservative MP, Karl McCartney, has voted consistently for widespread cuts to public spending, including a freeze on public sector salaries – yet, as a public servant himself, he’s also been campaigning for his own 11% payrise.
Mr McCartney already earns a salary of over £65,000 a year, and he pays his wife an additional £40,000 a year of public money. You don’t have to be the brain of Britain to understand that it’s exactly this kind of abject hypocrisy that turns people off politics.
It’s the perfect ammuniton for those who say politicians are just “in for themselves”. For this reason, the Tory and Lib Dem county councillors’ deeply irresponsible decision to award themselves more taxpayers’ money in a time of supposed public spending restraint won’t just affect residents’ view of them, it’ll impact badly on politics as a whole.