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Allowance cuts knocked back

Reporter: Janice Barker & Dawn Marsden
Date online: 22 July 2010

Last night’s full Oldham Council meeting

COUNCILLORS will not be cutting 10 per cent from their allowances after a vote which split the Tory group.

The proposal from Labour leader, Councillor Jim McMahon, was defeated by two votes. Two Tories, John Hudson and Len Quinn, backed the idea, while their group leader Jack Hulme and colleague Eileen Hulme opposed it along with the Liberal Democrat councillors.

Councillor McMahon wanted to amend proposals from the council’s Independent Remuneration Committee to freeze councillors’ allowances until another review in 2011.

Councillor McMahon told the council : “You can’t say to everybody that you have to accept cuts while agreeing to freeze allowances and give protection for us.”

But Councillor Jack Hulme accused the Labour leader of political interference and said it was seeking to gain political advantage by a populist proposal.

And he denied reports that he was one of the few councillors to get an increased special responsibility allowance for being a minority leader, because he never claims the allowance.

Councillor Eileen Hulme said no councillor had to take their allowances and asked why the cut had to be imposed adding: “If we care so much why don’t we do it voluntarily?”

Liberal Democrat Councillor John McCann said the 10 per cent cut was a superficially attractive idea but it would mean throwing away an independent body, and added: “Play politics with this and you will descend into the gutter.”

Council leader Howard Sykes said throwing out the remuneration panel’s suggestions would end 15 years of agreement.

But Councillor Hudson said: “I don’t read into this that we would scrap the system altogether.

“I understand that we are being asked to take this cut for two years, then go back to the panel and go back to normal.”

Councillor Dave Hibbert accused some councillors of deliberately misleading people, adding: “We are simply saying to the people of Oldham we will stand with them and by them.”

And in a heated exchange, Councillor McMahon (pictured) told Councillor Jack Hulme: “I will not be lectured on morals and responsibility by someone who has sold his soul by getting a seat on the Cabinet for £13,000 a year.”

After his amendment was defeated by 30 votes to 28, Councillor McMahon said: “I’m very depressed and really disappointed.

“But some people had the courage to break away like John Hudson and Len Quinn.”

Comments

What did anyone expect?

Cut all the allowances, then we would see who was genuinely interested in serving the electorate. Or payments by results - that would save a packet.

This was basically a vote on free cash from the taxpayers pocket, do you want less, yes or no? I don't know why they bothered having a vote with the greedy councillors we have in charge.

So 'we're all in it together' as our political masters try to tell us about the cuts they're making. Not on Oldham Council it seems - the gravy train trundles on !

'I'm alright' Jack Hulme is trying to mislead us again. He knows full well that the rules won't let him claim two allowances, one as Tory leader and the other as a cabinet member. So he is being gracious and just claiming the biggest. Thank you Jack.
Red Delpher is right: 'We're all in this together, but some are more in it than others.'

How encouraging to know that at local level the Lib-Dems are for once united! What a pity that it had to be on something that shows them in such a bad light. Of course the local councillors should take a pay cut and have their allowances frozen until the financial situation picks up. Have these people no sensitivity whatsoever? How can they run an organisation where so many employees are so anxious about their futures and put forward so many weasel words? Jim McMahon is right. Disgraceful!

As ever, everyone is outraged by the 'snouts in the trough' and the 'gravy train' but I don't recall many people standing for election themselves?
If one was truly outraged, one could stand for election and get elected, then one could work toward fixing the town instead of decrying it. But that would require quite a lot of hard work for very little return. Which is why no one does. Easier to complain from the sidelines.

ALL THEY ARE IN IT FOR IS TO LINE THERE OWN POCKETS THEY DONT GIVE A DAM ABOUT THE PUBLIC

The Tory local election address in 2007 pledged they would cut allowances. This is the first time since that they've had a chance to do anything about it. Their leader and his wife failed the integrity test.

According to the article, Cllr Jack Hulme has stated '.... it was seeking to gain political advantage by a populist proposal.'

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the ConDemn government, lead by one D Cameron, done just that very same thing, reduced their salary by 10%?

Perhaps Jack should give number 10 a call in the morning and let the residents their know what he thinks, as he certainly doesn't play follower the Leader!

Old Boy 1 Jack Hulme 0

I note that 'I'm alright Jack' Hulme was supported by his colleague, Cllr. Eileen Hulme. Of course he was, she's his wife. Their joint allowances must make many an Oldhamer's annual wage look like peanuts. No wonder they fought so hard against a reduction.

Well said Alice. With his cabinet allowance plus the basic £9000 Jck Hulme is on about £22,000 plus his wife's £9000. The Hulmes draw over £30,0000. Tories aren't in the habit of giving money away, especially £3000. Still as they will soon be out of office and off the Council they willknow how the rest of the unemployed that the ConDems are responsible for feel !

I am not surprised that those with the biggest snouts have won the day. But I am shocked that Hulme was one of them! I have known him for some time and never thought he was one of those simply in the job for the benefit of his own pockets. He always gave me the impression that he and his wife were the only Tories not on the make ... how wrong could I be!

 

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