This heinous and amoral decision

We, the carers of North Somerset, are campaigning to stop the councillors of North Somerset Council increasing their allowances this current year and joining the pension scheme, because to do so they will have to take it from the existing contingency fund

We, the carers of North Somerset, are campaigning to stop the councillors of North Somerset Council increasing their allowances this current year and joining the pension scheme, because to do so they will have to take it from the existing contingency fund of £409,000, £232,000 to fund their increases leaving a mere £177,000 for the population of 208,000 in case of emergencies. or disasters. We need the assistance of the media to bring pressure on the council to reverse this heinous and amoral decision and delay the increase until it can be included in the budget for 2009-10 and show they still have some morals themselves.We have spoken and written to the Audit Commission and Ombudsman but we have been made aware they have done nothing legally wrong, but we say it is morally wrong. They were voted into office last May, they were aware of the allowances they would receive and their expenses they could claim, and must have felt quite comfortable with these amounts or they would not have put their name forward for election. At least 50 per cent of these voluntary councillors are first time councillors, yet two months later, they set in motion the plan to have their allowances increased. They decided to select a new independent panel, thanking the old panel who had served them since 2001, and according to the accolades they received they were quite satisfied with their performance. They advertised in July for a new panel and decided in October on the new panel of four, replacing the old panel of three, plus an advisor, who could train them and advise them if required, costing £2,000. In November the panel began their assessment of the allowances which was reported to the council in February, and put to full council on April 1, when it was voted through. In this year's budget, cuts have been made to services for the elderly, vulnerable adults and children, cutting back on the number of hours they will pay for domiciliary care, the sitting services, transport, voluntary organisations, increasing the cost of day care and meals-on-wheels, etc. The list is endless. If the councillors feel they are in a position to use the contingency funds, why not restore these services instead of spending it on just 61 councillors, who are doing 'voluntary jobs'. In their pamphlets before the election there was no mention of increases in allowances, just empty promises as usual, and they are showing themselves in their true colours. We have started a petition to try to get the council to see sense. Please support us in getting this message across to all the electorate of North Somerset. Back our petition and let the electorate have their say.PEARL COLLMAN - Wolvershill Road, Banwell


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