Councillors divided after losing access to pensions

First published in News

BOLTON councillors have produced mixed reactions to the news that they can no longer qualify for local government pension schemes.

Brandon Lewis, the undersecretary of state for communities and local government, has announced the launch of a consultation on plans to stop councillors’ access to taxpayer-funded pension schemes from April 2014.

He said the current set-up contributed to a “corrosive influence on local democracy”

which “blurred the distinction between council staff and councillors”.

He said: “Councillors are volunteers undertaking public service.

“They are not professional, full-time politicians, nor should they be encouraged to become so.”

Cllr Linda Thomas, Bolton Council’s deputy leader and Labour councillor for Halliwell, said: “The role of local councillors now is as demanding on time and effort as it is on those in national office.

“Many councillors forgo their careers and hence the ability to increase their pension contributions, which would have been the case if they not been elected as councillors to serve the public.

“Once again the government is jumping on the populist band wagon, downgrading the worth of local councillors, which will do nothing to encourage those on low incomes and women who often juggle families, jobs and their council duties to become local voices for their communities.”

Bolton Conservative leader Cllr David Greenhalgh said: “I welcome the proposals.

“I have always disagreed with taxpayers’ money contributing to make up councillors’ pensions and have thought it wrong that councillors were ever included in the council pension scheme.

“I do not take advantage of the scheme and never have.”

Conservative deputy leader Cllr Andy Morgan said: “Councillors are not employees of the council and should never have been given the opportunity to join the scheme in the first place.

“When we are in such financial dire straits, such perks which are costing the taxpayer have to be sacrificed.”

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Hayes disagreed with the plans.

He said: “I have never taken up the option of the local government pension scheme as I am well covered by pensions earned in my employment in private industry.

“I do not believe that any of my group is in the scheme either.

“However, I believe it is right that younger councillors, who often give many hours of work for their constituents, should be able to go into the scheme if they wish, so I regret the decision of the government.”

Comments (16)

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11:33am Tue 1 Jan 13

binmans wages reduced says...

Bolton does not need 60 councillors, the town could be run by 40 councillors , but turkeys wont vote for christmas, will they?
Bolton does not need 60 councillors, the town could be run by 40 councillors , but turkeys wont vote for christmas, will they? binmans wages reduced
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Tue 1 Jan 13

oftbewildered2 says...

I e-mailed my Councillor with a specific problem - no reply.
I e-mailed my Councillor with a specific problem - no reply. oftbewildered2
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Tue 1 Jan 13

Rocket_Scientist says...

I think it will need more than this sob story to win over our hearts and minds before this coming May; a lot of our local councillors best get some work in before then.
I think it will need more than this sob story to win over our hearts and minds before this coming May; a lot of our local councillors best get some work in before then. Rocket_Scientist
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Tue 1 Jan 13

boydell says...

Am I right in believing that councillors get paid expenses?. If so I would like to know HOW MUCH ? If this is the case there are some who are husband and wife. Does this mean that the expenses are doubled. No wonder there are so many councillors. With all the perks, expenses, days out at the tax payers expense and pensions it seems to me that being a councillor is a nice little earner. Might just run myself at the next election !!.
Am I right in believing that councillors get paid expenses?. If so I would like to know HOW MUCH ? If this is the case there are some who are husband and wife. Does this mean that the expenses are doubled. No wonder there are so many councillors. With all the perks, expenses, days out at the tax payers expense and pensions it seems to me that being a councillor is a nice little earner. Might just run myself at the next election !!. boydell
  • Score: 0

1:26pm Tue 1 Jan 13

steveG says...

Remuneration for councillors was implemented by the last labour government,before which they only qualified for minimal expenses.Not only has this proved unsustainable but the quality of person now joining the rank of councillor has deteriorated to a level which most of us wouldn't want to stoop.
Remuneration for councillors was implemented by the last labour government,before which they only qualified for minimal expenses.Not only has this proved unsustainable but the quality of person now joining the rank of councillor has deteriorated to a level which most of us wouldn't want to stoop. steveG
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Tue 1 Jan 13

boltonnut says...

Councillors are people who are to lazy to work.........
Councillors are people who are to lazy to work......... boltonnut
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Tue 1 Jan 13

boydell says...

steveG wrote:
Remuneration for councillors was implemented by the last labour government,before which they only qualified for minimal expenses.Not only has this proved unsustainable but the quality of person now joining the rank of councillor has deteriorated to a level which most of us wouldn't want to stoop.
Does anyone know how much they get in expenses Steve ?
Simple question -simple answer !!
[quote][p][bold]steveG[/bold] wrote: Remuneration for councillors was implemented by the last labour government,before which they only qualified for minimal expenses.Not only has this proved unsustainable but the quality of person now joining the rank of councillor has deteriorated to a level which most of us wouldn't want to stoop.[/p][/quote]Does anyone know how much they get in expenses Steve ? Simple question -simple answer !! boydell
  • Score: 0

2:14pm Tue 1 Jan 13

Beyond News Forum says...

Pensions? WT absolute F are they?
Pensions? WT absolute F are they? Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 0

4:00pm Tue 1 Jan 13

raggadaddy says...

Look on the Bolton Council website - it tells you there how much they receive
Look on the Bolton Council website - it tells you there how much they receive raggadaddy
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Tue 1 Jan 13

berushka says...

To Cllr Thomas: of course you disagree, because you are a labour sheep. But the simple answer is, if they don't like having to put the time in, then they should not stand for election. Most of them do it for the glory of saying, 'I am a Councillor, and look how much I get in expenses, perks, free meals, free parking, paid time off work'. Don't kid us that they do it for the love of their constituents. If they did, they would listen to the voters and respond, not dictate their stupid, ill-thought out ideas that do nothing but ruin the town.
To Cllr Thomas: of course you disagree, because you are a labour sheep. But the simple answer is, if they don't like having to put the time in, then they should not stand for election. Most of them do it for the glory of saying, 'I am a Councillor, and look how much I get in expenses, perks, free meals, free parking, paid time off work'. Don't kid us that they do it for the love of their constituents. If they did, they would listen to the voters and respond, not dictate their stupid, ill-thought out ideas that do nothing but ruin the town. berushka
  • Score: 0

6:45pm Tue 1 Jan 13

Tel30 says...

Best news for ages!
Best news for ages! Tel30
  • Score: 0

8:25pm Tue 1 Jan 13

Beyond News Forum says...

Quote: “I do not take advantage of the scheme and never have.”

*coffs* Sounds like a conscious to me... guilty one?
Quote: “I do not take advantage of the scheme and never have.” *coffs* Sounds like a conscious to me... guilty one? Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 0

6:55am Thu 3 Jan 13

Hulton Park says...

Locally, sad to say (and not just in Bolton), there is a breed of councillor that views the role as an alternative career.

Plus, get yourself on to one or more of the Greater Manchester quangos, and you're made - a job for life, barring anything actually criminal. No-one to vote you off and even demonstrable, rank incompetence won't shift you.
Locally, sad to say (and not just in Bolton), there is a breed of councillor that views the role as an alternative career. Plus, get yourself on to one or more of the Greater Manchester quangos, and you're made - a job for life, barring anything actually criminal. No-one to vote you off and even demonstrable, rank incompetence won't shift you. Hulton Park
  • Score: 0

7:03am Thu 3 Jan 13

Hulton Park says...

binmans wages reduced wrote:
Bolton does not need 60 councillors, the town could be run by 40 councillors , but turkeys wont vote for christmas, will they?
I've often wondered why we still have multi-member wards, when parliament scrapped multi-member constituencies decades ago.

We have twenty wards in Bolton. We could increase the number of wards to thirty, making them more local, but with only one councillor in each.

This would also rid us of the painful three-yearly cycle of elections - with single-member wards,a clean sweep of the Council would be much easier and quicker if the electorate were unhappy.
[quote][p][bold]binmans wages reduced[/bold] wrote: Bolton does not need 60 councillors, the town could be run by 40 councillors , but turkeys wont vote for christmas, will they?[/p][/quote]I've often wondered why we still have multi-member wards, when parliament scrapped multi-member constituencies decades ago. We have twenty wards in Bolton. We could increase the number of wards to thirty, making them more local, but with only one councillor in each. This would also rid us of the painful three-yearly cycle of elections - with single-member wards,a clean sweep of the Council would be much easier and quicker if the electorate were unhappy. Hulton Park
  • Score: 0

7:08am Thu 3 Jan 13

Hulton Park says...

boydell wrote:
steveG wrote: Remuneration for councillors was implemented by the last labour government,before which they only qualified for minimal expenses.Not only has this proved unsustainable but the quality of person now joining the rank of councillor has deteriorated to a level which most of us wouldn't want to stoop.
Does anyone know how much they get in expenses Steve ? Simple question -simple answer !!
Bolton's 60 councillors were paid £867,531.95 in allowances in the last financial year (source: Bolton Council). So on average, £14, 459.87 each.

Travel and expenses were on top of that.
[quote][p][bold]boydell[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]steveG[/bold] wrote: Remuneration for councillors was implemented by the last labour government,before which they only qualified for minimal expenses.Not only has this proved unsustainable but the quality of person now joining the rank of councillor has deteriorated to a level which most of us wouldn't want to stoop.[/p][/quote]Does anyone know how much they get in expenses Steve ? Simple question -simple answer !![/p][/quote]Bolton's 60 councillors were paid £867,531.95 in allowances in the last financial year (source: Bolton Council). So on average, £14, 459.87 each. Travel and expenses were on top of that. Hulton Park
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Thu 3 Jan 13

sallyupsteps says...

The ratepayers were better served when we had indendant coucillors. At least they were in it for the public good. Bring back some conviction politicians not lickspittle time servers making the most of the expenses scam. Why should they have access to a pension scheme? Let them make their own provisions as all the small shopkeepers that they are driving out of business have to. Another worrying aspect of the job seem to be the way that seats are passed around between father and sonsdaughters. When did we institute a right to inherit a public office?
The ratepayers were better served when we had indendant coucillors. At least they were in it for the public good. Bring back some conviction politicians not lickspittle time servers making the most of the expenses scam. Why should they have access to a pension scheme? Let them make their own provisions as all the small shopkeepers that they are driving out of business have to. Another worrying aspect of the job seem to be the way that seats are passed around between father and sonsdaughters. When did we institute a right to inherit a public office? sallyupsteps
  • Score: 0

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