Letter: Petition to stop 34% councillors' allowance rise
Date published: 09 January 2017
Can I thank your readers for signing the petition stop 34% RMBC councillors' allowance rise until reduction of councillors. So far, 1,479 people have signed the petition with hundreds more returning paper petitions.
I just wanted to update you on behalf of councillors Andy Kelly and Irene Davidson.
Firstly, we are really pleased with the amount of people who are supporting this campaign.
We've not received so many names on a petition since the successful campaign that delivered Metrolink to Rochdale.
I'll make this clear to Allen Brett, Richard Farnell and others that spurious, inaccurate personal attacks in the media will not deflect us from what we see as a disgraceful decision.
We also had to fight to keep the petition online. After some editing and an agreement that it would be made clear that this was a political petition it was put up again. No prizes for guessing where the complaint came from.
Andy and Irene, the only councillors to vote against the decision to increase councillors' pay, by 34% will be presenting the petition at the Full Council meeting on 1 March. The meeting this month has been cancelled.
There will also be an opportunity for you to ask a question. You can do this by submitting it to the Council's Chief Executive Steve Rumbelow at firstname.lastname@example.org by the middle of February.
People in Rochdale tell us they are angry. I spoke to a lifelong Labour supporter on Turf Hill on Saturday morning. Put it this way, they'll no longer be supporting Labour locally.
Also on Saturday, I met a Conservative family in Littleborough. They were puzzled by the fact that the Conservatives supported Labour in giving themselves massive pay rises. I have to say that so are we.
It's one thing having to make difficult decisions on restricted council spending but another putting your wages up by such a significant sum.
We are currently talking to the Boundary Commission about the proposal to reduce the number of councillors from 60 to 40 (or two per council ward). It is our information that this is a lengthy process. The rise in allowances is intrinsically linked with the reduction in councillors. We repeat that any increase in allowances should only be introduced once the number of councillors is reduced. If at all.
So what next? Well, we need to keep the pressure on and force the Council to delay the pay increase.
Finally, we would like to thank Rochdale Online, the only Rochdale-based news organisation. Their coverage of this issue has really helped this petition and they have done a great job in forensically taking apart any justification for this pay rise.
Can you help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends?
(On behalf of Councillor Andy Kelly and Councillor Irene Davidson)
The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.