An informative site built through necessity, due to the appalling behaviour of local Councilliars supported by the restrictive censorship policies of the local press in the Portishead area who feel it is their duty to remove any factual statements of wrongdoings by local Councilliars
The great allowances rip off
This page will also be updated shortly. Mainly because councilliars are still dipping into the trough and have now come out with a new cunning scheme to pocket more of our money. It should be called ‘invent fictitious positions for your mates to give em a few more quid’ but strangely it involved poor over worked executive members of the council being given their own personal little skivvy to help with their workload. Whilst doing so why not throw another £32,000 their way to help those 5 Tory Councilliars who have been loyal to that hard working executive. Sorry but we would have asked Mr Ashton to explain the necessity of these fictitious posts as we were under the impression that most of the work the council once did was now farmed out to help save money. Unfortunately Mr Ashton was enjoying a nice holiday with his partner Councilliar Felicity Baker in sunny Rome. Nice work if you can get it, lets hope the strains of being overworked were eased for a few weeks whilst the recently appointed thunder buddies looked after the office.
Yep in one swift move at a time of austerity and cutbacks, Nigel Ashton created 5 new positions for 5 close Tory colleagues. In simple terms, imagine a street of 20 households. The families work hard to earn a wage and they pay their council tax every month like clockwork. Along come the Executive members old boy network and take the council tax from every one of those households and pop it into the bank accounts of 5 councilliars.
Were these Tory councilliars actually qualified to hold these fictitious positions…. Most certainly not. Were the appointments debated and put to a vote…. Most definitely not…
Nepotism is alive and kicking in North Somerset. Why go to Westminster to witness corrupt politics when it is thriving on your own doorstep?
Whenever councilliars are asked what they do for their money, ninety nine percent of the time, those asked generally come back at you with “as town councilors, we don’t claim allowances”. This is a fact that most people are aware of but as town councilors have no power and rely on those who serve as District Councilliars to represent the whole town at North Somerset Council level, where decisions are made, it comes as a major cop out when District Councilliars utilize the same response. District Councilliars get what is called a ‘members allowance’. The amounts they receive are shown below. Every four years an ‘independent’ panel meet to suggest a figure for these allowances . The figure is then discussed by the Council and they can decide whether or not to accept it, obviously taking things like affordability and value for money into account.
Councilliars look at the recommendations and then vote on whether to accept them. Earlier this year (shortly after the expenses gravy train was highlighted in a certain video) councilliars chose not to increase these allowances. Having already increased them by over 30% at the previous review, and whilst cutting services across the board, even they knew they would not get away with it again. However, watch this space because in the coming years plans appear to be in the pipe line for boundary changes, and what could become the rebirth of the ill-fated Avon super council under a different guise. If either of these changes occur expense claims will probably start on a rapid uphill direction once more.
We have 61 District Councilliars in North Somerset (the whole of USA is run by 100 Senators). Portishead has six District Councilliars who also sit on the Town Council. These Six do get allowances & expenses. In fact in 2009, a few years after being elected, one of Portishead’s District councilliars became the highest (elected) claimant of expenses in the whole county and quickly jumped on the taxpayer funded pension bandwagon. Not bad for someone who stood as an Independent claiming to represent the people, changed his allegiance to Conservative and then promptly moved from the town he wanted to ‘represent’.
The table below shows the allowances claimed by councilliars and when you take into consideration that councilliars can claim for up to two of the committees they sit on, we don’t think we are getting a good return on our money based on the way these councilliars take no accountability for their actions and treat democratic principles with utter contempt.
Whilst determining the members allowances rates the ‘independent’ committee base their findings on the following expectations, amongst others, of these councilliars:
In undertaking its legal responsibilities to consider and make recommendations on members’ allowances and associated matters, the panel has been minded to recommend allowances for local councillors that:
(a) fairly reflect the public’s expectations of their elected representatives;
(b) acknowledge the reality of the responsibilities they carry for the effective governance of the Council and for local community representation;
(c) recognise those roles that contribute to the effective leadership of the Council and of the local community;
(d) provide a robust framework for supporting the needs of all councillors and, as far as possible, a framework that presents no inherent barriers to those who might consider standing or remaining as local councillors; a
(e) reflect how the Council is operating today, including shared working and partnership where relevant.
We suggest councillors read these expectations as we could publish pages of information on the first point alone which prove what total disregard they have shown toward the publics expectations on many matters
The sudden need for five executive councilliars to have assistant executive little helpers stinks of nepotism. Five fictitious positions created to reward loyalty seems to be the only logical reason for such appointments. But it’s okay because now a further street of households who pay their council tax for services can rest assured in the knowledge that their money is going straight into the bank accounts of five more councilliars who already claim ‘allowances’. How odd how times change and those who once stood to represent ‘all’ in their ward because they felt a duty to their community, now only represent those who have the same political views but can no longer function as our representatives without increasingly larger financial gain.