DEMONSTRATORS outside Rochdale Town Hall at the full council meeting of Rochdale MBC were chanting '34% and we can't pay the rent!' last Wednesday night. It was the reaction of the unions and UKIP supporters to the proposed rise in stipend allowances for councillors on Rochdale Metropolitan Council.
Inside, Councillor Andy Kelly accused Richard Farnell, the leader of Rochdale's Labour Council for giving jobs to the comrades by paying a stipend to assistant portfolio holders as well as Cabinet members.
These days the 'comrades' seems to include Ashley Dearnley and his little tribe of Tories because they joined with Labour to vote for the increase. It was noticeable that some Labour councillors stayed away and gave their apologies last Wednesday.
In the end only the two Liberal Democrat councillors, Councillors Andy Kelly and Irene Davidson, voted against the increase. It was suggested that the proposal to increase allowances was brought forward now because next year there will not be elections for the council, and it is hoped by Labour that by the time of the next elections the public will have forgot what happened last Wednesday.