Janet Ingman has written to the Champion to ask how we might be able to afford to let a new councillor resign and spend about £8,000 on a by-election but not put more money into policing. The short answer is the two matters are not locally related. Funding of local councils and funding of policing come from different pots. Janet Ingman surely makes a good point, as anyone could, about the short career of the Labour politician who resigned. As with the other case, the Tory in Hesketh-with-Becconsall, the public are paying for political party failures, but the bill should be sent to them, not us.
As for why do we pay so much for so many councillors, and are they the way to cut back on unnecessary spending, I simply quote again the case of Wally Westley in his Cabinet pomp, when he stated on the same day two answers. Asked in August 2010 “Why do we need 54 councillors? Surely we could get rid of about one third of them with a little judicious thought? That would lead to a smaller council, a smaller cabinet (less expenses) and a smaller administration, smaller salaries for the highly paid senior staff who would have less responsibility, smaller premises and the sale of some of the capital assets we own” he replied “The number of Borough Councillors is set by the Government and the Boundary Commission. My personal view is that there are too many and that the number could be reduced by 50%”. But when asked “As for the number of councillors, why don’t you instigate a review of WLBC with the Boundary Commission?” he replied “I would not want to waste money on a Boundary Commission Review or the resultant election. There are far more important matters and it would only be an unnecessary distraction”. Truly unbelievable until you realise the calibre of the man!
Janet Ingman mentions neighbourhood watch but doesn’t hear of them now. They do exist, with difficulty as any current NHW co-ordinator will tell her. Encouraged to organise watches, people are now disillusioned by lack of support. By chance, also in the Champion, is a headline that “Deadline looms for bids for funding of projects to tackle reoffending”, from a “police commissioner’s £200k pot”. It beggars belief that Mr Grunshaw received a massive rise from us for his police budget, only for us now to discover HE wants to spend OUR money doing what the Home Secretary should pay for, reducing reoffending. It’s bad enough that while police bills go up police officer numbers reduce. We can only wonder what salary is paid to the Independent chair of the Reoffending Boards who just happens to be a recent Chief Constable in Cumbria?