Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm cheap at half the price

Or, this could be titled: the time the journo missed a trick. Our local roving political commentator, Giles Sheldrick, can whiff a good story a mile off and, with the national news about MPs' expenses, he must have thought it was a smart move to dig out last year's councillor allowances for the City and County. It was headline news in the local paper.

My own allowance will be higher this municipal year than last, as I'm now Deputy Leader and as the independent remuneration panel decided allowances were too low. Good value or not? I'll leave that to the people of Headington to decide.

One thing I will say is that I use my allowance to cover travel expenses -- but not so some others. And here's what Giles missed: allowance, being set independently, are not really under the control of councillors. But there are other columns listed in the official records -- 'carers' and 'travel / subsistence.' That is more in the remit of individual councillors to decide how much they claim -- and there's a huge difference between the nought pounds some have claimed and the £10,000 (yes, all those zeros should be there) at the other end of the scale. Now, there's a story.

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