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August 19th, 2011 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

I have a small readership here (which suits me and I try to keep it that way) but quite a few of them are, or have been, involved in local politics in Crawley or elsewhere.  Maybe one of them can enlighten me on something.   I am not trying to be provocative or make any sort of point, I genuinely don’t understand this.
Last week the council published a list in the local paper, as they are required to do every year, of the levels of allowances paid to members.  It included the basic allowance, special allowances paid for executive posts, chairs of committees or party leaders, mileage rates, subsistence allowances and child care allowances but it doesn’t mention the allowances paid to the mayor and deputy mayor. Why is that?

Despite having been deputy mayor I have no idea what allowances are paid to the mayor and I mean I don’t even know what ball park they are in.  Maybe I am naive but before I took on the job I didn’t even know that the deputy mayor got anything.  It turned out to be about £1100 back then I think, though I may be wrong, and I assume it has risen at about the same sort of level as the other allowances.

I can’t remember it ever being mentioned.  There was always great debate in public about what level the other allowances should be.  I can’t even recall seeing any line in the financial documents. On reflaection, it seems a bit strange that whether some minor responsibility should get an allowance of £300 was argued about but something that is probably thousands was all organised out of sight.

I know the mayor has a budget which is supposed to cover the running of their office, the civic ball, food and drink for the mayor’s parlour and so on, but that is different (and come to think of it, I can’t remember that being debated either) and I assume separate. Mind you, even that is public money and of some interest so we can see if it is going up or being reduced in line with other budget cuts.

So what is the deal?  Is it a secret?  Is it just left off the published list because it isn’t mandatory to publish it? It isn’t something councillors are told to keep quiet about, because nobody told me not to mention it at the time.  It isn’t something I am worked up about I just can’t see why its all so obscure.  I would have thought it was of much more interest to the average council tax-payer than what the chair of general purposes gets.

Of course it is possible that I just can’t remember details from about ten years ago. Perhaps I never paid attention to that bit of the budget.  Can anybody shed some light or do I have to go through the pain of looking at the CBC website for budget documents?

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