When I wrote to the Advertiser in November criticising the council for holding its budget drop-in sessions during working hours, while I thought attendance would be bad, the figure reported in last week’s paper of just 32 fell well below the worst I would have expected.
Saying that, the message from the one easy to action platform for local people is simple, cut your allowances.
Yes the main budget pressures on the council are down to the government and even if you agree that austerity was necessary the way it has been implemented has been very unfair on Rotherham.
That said we should worry about what is in our control locally and the last set of allowance figures show Rotherham councillors claim £100,000 more per year than their equivalents in Sheffield.
Cutting these would save more than what Labour want to cut from services to the blind, advocacy services for the sick and cuts in library services combined over the next two years.
However, this isn’t just a Labour matter and while the allowance figures are set centrally each individual councillor is responsible for claiming their allowances and can refuse to take any part of their allowances. The UKIP Leader on the council claims a special responsibility allowance for being the opposition leader that is 14 per cent higher than his equivalent in Sheffield.
This is, dear reader, the only time the phrase “all in this together” really applies when you realise the one thing all parties on the council will protect is their own coin.