Why I am Prepared to Waive my Allowances
In the run up to the May elections I said that I was
prepared to waive any allowance due to me if elected as a Cheshire East
councillor to serve my community for three reasons:
I want to improve the public view of politicians. The reputation
2) The allowance is too high. The basic allowance is £11,200, which is more than some people earn for a full time job.
I want to improve our parks and the facilities for children. Over
the last four years as a town councillor I have put a lot of time and effort
into getting improvements for
Cheshire East Council have now reported that they will not accept my offer
and cited political reasons for the rejection.
Cheshire East Council have now reported that they will not accept my offer and cited political reasons for the rejection.
I have a dilemma. If I waive my allowance then the Tories on Cheshire East could simply use the money to pay extra bonuses. On the other hand if I take the money myself then I could be accused of breaking an election pledge. I have therefore decided to take my allowance but give the money away to local community groups and projects. Sadly the rejection by Cheshire East means that the amount of money available is reduced due to tax, National Insurance and pensions. However, it does mean that there is more freedom over how the money is spent.
In spite of the rejection of my offer to waive my allowances, I am pleased
to note that the three reasons I gave above have all been achieved to some
In spite of the rejection of my offer to waive my allowances, I am pleased to note that the three reasons I gave above have all been achieved to some extent:
1) several people have commented to me that they are pleased to see a politician giving to the community. Sadly, they often go on to say that there are too many politicians who are self-serving and put party and personality before the good of their community. Unfortunately this is true, but it should not detract from the many good people involved in local politics.
2) The allowance has been frozen for 2012/13. I would have liked to see it cut.
3) The other political parties have woken up to the importance of parks and playgrounds for the community. I do not mind people jumping on this bandwagon. If it means more playgrounds and better parks in Sandbach, then I am pleased – whoever muscles in on the photo opportunity.
Finally, I recognise that some people have given up jobs in order to be councillors and not only do they need the allowances to support themselves, but they also work hard and earn their allowances. I do not want my personal decision to give away my allowances to be seen as a criticism of those hardworking councillors.
So far I have paid
£2,500 to St Mary's Church Paid September 2011
£2,500 to Congleton Constituency Labour Party Paid December 2011
£2,900 to Cardinal Hume Centre Paid January 2012
3 x £50 to Poems in the Waiting Room
£4,425 to Cardinal Hume Centre Paid November 2012
The Centre supports homeless young people and badly housed families.
Well done to the Young Labour members who slept rough in Crewe to raise money for Shelter http://www.facebook.com/events/127957510691672/
£2,700 to CAFOD Paid November 2012
CAFOD is an international aid agency
£270 Wesley Avenue Methodists - Messy Church March 2013
£100 to St Luke's Hospice paid December 2013
£5,500 paid to FCC Recycling (UK) Ltd as match funding for a £50,000 grant towards Mortimer Drive Play Area
£2,500 to CAFOD paid July 2014 for their Hands On Kitui campaign - I worked in the Kitui district of Kenya from 1994-96
£100 to Wikipedia December 2014
£40 Wesley Avenue Methodists - Messy Church December 2014
£250 paid to the Cheshire East Mayor's Charity Macmillan Cancer Support 17 December 2014
£2,500 paid to the St Patrick's Missionary Society January 2015
£5,000 paid to Mary's Meals www.marysmeals.org
Ultimately I wish to see another new playground in Sandbach (probably Church Lane), but this takes time to organise. In the meantime I have deposited £10,000 with the Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union http://www.cncu.org.uk/