OPINION: Rosemary Westwell says it’s time for councillors to look after their citizens rather than lining their own pockets

PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 July 2017

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell.

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell.


The arrogance of Cambridgeshire County Councillors awarding themselves a 30 per cent increase on their allowances beggars belief.

Who among us have suddenly been awarded a 30 per cent increase? While the rest of us are feeling the pinch because the government insists on making cuts, the people who are supposed to represent us are doing the opposite.

Oh yes, they keep saying they are going to have to make ‘difficult decisions’, which usually means they will have to reduce services, but when it comes to their own situation, they do nothing of the kind. How two-faced is that?

There was an independent report that certainly did not advise this kind of behaviour. Why was this ignored?

In case these councillors hadn’t noticed, we are supposed to live in a democracy, in which citizens should be treated fairly and equally. Leaders are elected to serve the interests of the people, not themselves.

Unless our councillors take heed from the events that happened over Grenfell, when angry citizens who had been mal-treated stormed the council offices, demanding resignations, our councillors will have no future and will not even get these generous allowances.

We’ve seen the outrageous salaries paid from our TV licence money to BBC ‘stars’ but it does not take long to work out that these are highly inflated and hardly equal.

We all know that top bosses in high-powered industries also have grotesquely large salaries.

It is time this is stopped. It should be equal pay for an equal job. What it appears to be now, however, is that the more dominant and bullying you are, the more likely you will be able to keep the underlings down and, like a selfish dictator, award yourself a huge raise, ignoring the plight of the others.

It is said that good leaders should lead by example. Even in the army I believe an officer always looks after his troops first. Why doesn’t this happen in other areas of our lives?

Our councillors should develop their own sense of morality, look after their citizens first, and not claim any of their allowances, until they have seen every citizen’s need satisfied.

It’s amazing how they have the time to even discuss increases when there are so many other people suffering. Are our councillors making sure that all the homeless are fed, clothed and have homes before returning to their own comfy abodes? I think not.

While it would be an impossible task for one councillor alone, if councils as a whole changed their agendas to address problems such as these, rather than lining their own pockets, our citizens would be happier, healthier and more inclined to support the councillors when they want us to vote for them.


  • The decision of Conservative councillors to force through a massive increase in allowances is an outrage. It will cost £200,000 a year more than the recommendations made by the independent panel which was convened to provide an objective assessment of Cambridgeshire councillors' pay. That £200,000 would have been far better spent on rural bus services, keeping some of our children's centres open, or any number of other things that make a real difference to the lives of local residents. I'm pleased that councillors of all other groups opposed this proposal, but disappointed that only one Conservative councillor abstained and none voted against. A betrayal of the people of Cambridgeshire.

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    Lorna Dupré

    Thursday, July 27, 2017

  • Bang on the nail there, Rosemary. Well said.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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