Tomorrow, 3rd Dec at 10.30am demonstrators will be gathering at the Civic Centre to object to the development of Otterpool New Town, the disneyland size lorry park , Princes Parade and other developments going on across our beautiful district of Shepway.
If you have the time do join this merry bunch and bring your whistles and drums and banners.
Our Cllrs across our region have been elected to serve their residents, but a vast majority put their party before the people. While they purport to serve us they receive an allowance, which is broken down into four areas
They receive the following:
Basic Allowance (£5100 a rise of 32% and backdated to May 15 )
Special Responsibility Allowance (eg if they chair a committee)
Travel/Subsistence and other Allowances (self explanatory)
For a more detailed analysis see → members_allowances_scheme_for_website-4-10-16
Shepway District Council place this information online so we thought we’d take a look at it.
From April 2012 – Sept 2016 our Cllrs have cost us close to £1.5 million pounds for making decisions behind closed doors. These are not the only decisions to have been taken behind closed doors this year only Shepway have used various legislation to lock the doors on more than a dozen occasions. Is such behaviour good for democracy.Openness and transparency are key ingredients to build accountability and trust, which are necessary for the functioning of democracy at local and national level.
So for the sake of Openness & Transparency and the Public Interest here are SDC Cllrs expenses.
In May 2015 the number of Cllrs was reduced from 47 to 30 and the blue in 15/16 represents what Cllrs was paid up until the election on May 7th 2015. The red is for all 30 Cllrs thereafter. Are our Cllrs Value for Money?
The next graph below is just for the Travel/Subsistence and other Allowances for the period Apr 2012 – Sept 2016. Which shows they have received £85,501. Now you may say that’s not a lot, but remember nearly 50% of SDC’s income is from your Council Tax. Are we getting value for money? And why aren’t they being open and transparent on what they spend this money. Again this is all hidden from view for most of the year.
To be fair to Cllrs there are some who through the period have only claimed their basic allowance and no other expenses at all. If their name appears they have only claimed their basic allowance in that year according to SDC’s data
Tomorrow’s demonstration is not just about development, it is about the lack of transparency and openness. It is about the meetings behind closed doors and decisions to spend £5.2 million. It’s about Cllrs compromising their integrity. It’s about influence that donations may well have on planning decisions and the fact that SDC haven’t told us the whole truth about their initial collaboration agreement they have signed with the Reuben Brothers.
So please for the sake of our district bring your drums, your whistles, your banners and wrap up warm. Let SDC know we care about where we live and that we wish to protect our Open Spaces from their secrecy and their lack of transparency & openness.