VICTORY! - as Labour's Merseytravel “Gravy Train” is derailed, saving £100,000
Cutbacks in councillor pay on Transport Authority Merseytravel, following independent review, will save local Council Tax payers £100,000 a year, say local Lib Dems.
Proposals for a massive pay rise for some Labour councillors were unanimously rejected yesterday, (9th February) at a meeting of Merseytravel. However, councillors agreed to accept the recommendations of an independent review axing many of the “Special Responsibility Allowances” previously paid to councillors.
The rejection of the proposed pay increase, and the axing of 25 Councillors' 'Special Allowances' is projected to save Merseytravel £100,000 a year.
Following a strong campaign by Liberal Democrat councillors, which also highlighted the way in which Labour's Merseytravel Chairman, Sefton Councillor Mark Dowd haad been using the public credit card as a 'bank' for his holiday expenditure in California, the Merseytravel chair's pay has finally been cut back from £63,000 a year (£9,000 as a Sefton Councillor, plus several allowances from Merseytravel totalling £54,000) to £39,000 a year. Lib Dems are claiming this as a victory for the travelling public and for commonsense.
“This is a massive victory for Merseyside Council Tax payers, and for the Liberal Democrats who have long campaigned for reform of “Labour’s Gravy Train.”
says Cllr Andrew Makinson, leader of the Lib Dems on Merseytravel.
Southport Councillor and Merseytravel Board member John Dodd says:
“We always believed the level of allowances that Labour Councillors were paying themselves was impossible to justify. This independent review has proved that the Liberal Democrats were right all along.”
Southport Lib Dem chair Tony Dawson says:
"At a time when passengers are having to face fare rises, it was an insult to see Labour Councillors considering taking more from the public pot. I hope that the Merseyside Fire Authority will now make similar moves on their Allowances. Last year, Labour councillors cut 92 Firefighters jobs while retaining their own first class rail travel perks."
On June 27th 2011, Labour Councillors voted against Liberal Democrat calls for an independent review of allowances, and an end to the practice of claiming multiple allowances. However, a widespread public backlash forced a dramatic U-turn just a few weeks later.
Sefton Lib Dem leader Cllr Tony Robertson said:
"I am delighted that we have been able to help to put public money before councillors pockets. This is no time to even think about pay rises for councillors."
The Independent review report is attached.
Merseytravel’s bill for Councillor's Allowances previously totalled £1/4 Million. All Councillors receive a “basic allowance” of £5,500, but there were also 35 “Special Responsibility Allowances” paid to councillors. There are just 18 members on the Authority, drawn from the five Merseyside Councils.
For further information please contact Councillor Andrew Makinson on 07939 220 336; Tony Dawson on, John Dodd on: