Hardworking people in Kempston have been saving up for Christmas and are currently working out how to afford that extra stocking filler for the kids, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. At the same time, this summer, it came out that Bedford Borough Councillors had voted for an increase in their taxpayer-funded allowances. In total, allowances rose from £623,992 in 2013 to £633,235 in 2014, and the basic allowance (simply for being a Councillor) stands at over £10,000 every year – higher than some places in London.
While frontline services have had to be cut back due to our overwhelming national deficit, I think this is wrong. Local council workers, facilities, and services have all had to tighten their belts to deal with years of economic mismanagement under the previous government – why shouldn’t local representatives do the same?
As Councillor, I would have voted against the increase then, and I would vote against any future increase while cuts are being made elsewhere. If elected to represent Kempston Central & East, I will also be handing back a proportion of those allowances in the form of donations to local charities and projects – being a Councillor should be about duty, not about entitlement.