Last night there was utter disbelief from the Lib Dems as the Tories showed that we are definitely NOT all in it together by putting themselves first and the Borough’s young people second.
The Council received a report from the independent panel that looks at councillors pay. The panel recommended no increases this year. The Conservatives overrode the report and voted for extra pay for six of their own councillors.
Later in the meeting after rewarding themselves, the Conservatives voted against a Lib Dem motion calling on the Council to stop the Conservative decision making Executive from making sweeping cuts to the borough’s children’s and youth services. The Liberal Democrats voted against the extra pay and were outraged that the Conservatives awarded themselves more money at a time when they are cutting services for young people.
Kay Gilder (South Lake ward) said “The Conservatives have sent a message loud and clear that for them its local residents last and Wokingham’s Conservatives first. They refuse to listen and just disregard anyone that tries to stop them riding roughshod over local residents’ views. The panel explained that the Conservative councillors should not be paid more as they do not have any additional responsibility or any extra decision making powers over and above any other member of the council. Why on earth should they be given more of local taxer payer’s money? These Conservatives are comfortable in their safe seats and seem to think residents just have to put up with whatever rewards they decide to give themselves.”
We understand the tough financial squeeze on the Council and recognise that money needs to go further and do more. Liberal Democrats believe services to the public should come first. Conservatives obviously believe in feathering their own nest – they even backdated their extra pay!”