Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Cyril Smith on the Council Stipend

TODAY's Rochdale Observer has letters attacking last week's decision by Councillors to increase councilor's allowances.  Both the Vice Chair of UKIP in the Rochdale area and Dale Mulgrew a former Liberal Dem. Councillor have letters in the paper condemning to decision.
Years ago councilors got only allowance for expenses, and at that time they had greater responsibilities.  Today many of the tasks they use to hold have been eroded by central government.
Yet today some of them treat it like a career, and as a consequence have lost touch with the people they serve.
About quarter of a century ago in the Rochdale Observer on the 30th, May 1992, Rochdale's former MP, Cyril Smith suggested that all payments to councilors should be abolished.  He then said:
'ABOLISH all payments to councilors except to reimburse them for expenses incurred. 
'I believe the concept of voluntary services is being swiftly eroded.  Society is worse off for that.  This is especially true in local government.  It used to be an honour to be of service as a councillor to one's fellow citizens.  Sadly, that is no longer the case.'
Furthermore, Cyril Smith added:
'I would decree that all councilors cease being administrators, and abolish titles such as "Leader of the council".  That would expose it for the nonsense it is.  The office bestows false authority whose only base is the regimentation of fellow councillors in the leader's political party.'*
It is suggested that Richard Farnell threatened to withdraw the party whip from any Labour Party councillors who failed to support the proposal to increase councilor's allowances last week.  Perhaps because of this, some Labour councillors sent their apologies and didn't attend the Council meeting to give their vote.
*  Cyril Smith served more than 40 years as a councilor, alderman or MP for Rochdale.  He served as a Labour councilor in Rochdale from 1950 and became mayor in 1966, then he subsequently switched parties again and entered Parliament as a Liberal in 1972, and won his Rochdale seat on five further occasions.

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