Just when you thought politicians couldn’t get lower in public esteem, Tunbridge Wells councillors are set to vote local Cabinet members a 22% increase in allowances, and the leader of the council is due to get a 15% rise. The proposals have been accepted by the council’s finance committee, go to the Cabinet on Thursday and are due to be voted on by the full council at its next meeting. Because of the Conservative majority on the council the proposal is likely to go through. They are not the only council to be increasing allowances while at the same time making cuts to the budgets of voluntary groups. Labour led Norich City Council has increased councillor allowances by 54% and its leaders rumuneration by a whopping 54%.

As Chris Kamara might say, “Unbelieveable, Jeff”.

I’d like to think that any local councillor who votes to increase allowances in this economic climate will face the wrath of the electorate at the next council elections. But the trouble is, we still have one party states in UK local government. Tunbridge Wells is one of those councils whose political complexion has barely changed in 60 years. And it is unbelievably complacent. It fails to listen, its consultations are a joke and many of the councillors are fully paid up members of the Old Boys Network. There is a group of younger councillors who are trying to change things, but they are resisted at every turn by their older counterparts. This is the makeup of the council…

Conservatives 37
Liberal Democrats 5
Independent 2
Labour 2
UK Independence Party 2

Sadly there are no elections this May for Tunbridge Wells council, as it is the County’s turn. Just as well, for TWBC Conservative councillors. No doubt they are hoping that by May 2014 people will have forgotten their troughing. I won’t.

I’ve never been in favour of PR for general elections, but I am persuadable for local council elections. We need to rid local government of these one party state fiefdoms, whether they are Conservative or Labour. They breed complacency and corruption. Council tax payers deserve better.