Appalled by level of the allowances

I WAS appalled to read in the county council Northumberland News magazine the details of the allowances, responsibility allowances (in some cases more than the basic allowance paid to local authority members during 2009-10) totalling a staggering £1,308,401:39p.

I was always under the impression that the services provided by local councillors were done voluntarily, with only expenses and mileage paid by the tax payers.

My sister’s neighbour is married with two children. She works full-time – which includes shift work – and her salary is lower than the county councillors’ part-time basic allowance, prior to the addition of their further expenses.

How can the council agree to reduce spending by the closure of care homes, cutting down bus services, libraries etc, which are vital to the elderly, vulnerable and disabled, when council members are claiming such large allowances?

If local magistrates show such a high standard of integrity for public service by working voluntarily, claiming travel and out of pocket expenses only, surely, anyone who truly wants to help their community would be willing to do so without expecting expenses which amount to more that the average salary.

After all, many of the local councillors do not do this service as an occupation; indeed some are retired or work elsewhere.

No wonder prime minister David Cameron is calling on the rest of community members to join ‘The Big Society’ and work voluntarily.

STELLA JAMES

Ponteland