Inside Croydon knows it has already acquired at least one regular reader in Taberner House. But is Croydon Council leader Mike Fisher another?
As we predicted when we carried the story first on Monday, last night’s Corporate Services Committee meeting, with its majority of Tory councillors, dutifully rubber-stamped proposals to give massive pay rises to Croydon’s leading councillors, who all happen to be Tories…
No surprise there, then.
Labour councillors on the committee all voted against the proposals, which also reduce the allowances paid to “back bench” councillors by around £500 each, at an overall saving to the council over the next two years of £100,000. The proposals will now go before the full council.
After last night’s meeting, Tim Pollard, the deputy leader and therefore also up for a juicy 12 per cent increase in his allowances, said: “I think the public will welcome the changes.”
Oh dear Tim, you really need to get out more. [Actually, no… Tim: why don’t you stay in and finally get around to updating your website, which has been “currently under reconstruction” since December 2008?]
Front of the queue for pay rises is Pollard’s boss, Croydon’s Conservative group leader, Fisher, who can now collect more than £64,000 a year after an inflation-busting £12,800 rise.
And this as Fisher, his two deputies, cabinet members and the chief whip, who have all had their mates vote them hefty increases in their allowances, preside over £60 million-worth of local spending cuts, an anticipated axing of 1 in 4 Croydon Council jobs, and a two-year pay freeze for all council employees.
In our piece yesterday, after it had been reported that Fisher and his Conservative group of councillors only wanted to take half their pay rises now – as if that made it all OK – we suggested instead that Fisher should, “… demonstrate real leadership and be the first to opt out of any increase, and to insist that all his Conservative party group on Croydon Council does the same”.
Now guess what happened in a dark corner of the council offices before the committee meeting? The council’s Conservative leadership held a meeting and all agreed not to take the pay rises this year.
Maybe Mike “I’m not in this for popularity” Fisher had read Inside Croydon.
Or more likely he’d taken an angry call from his party leader, “Call Me Dave” Cameron, who had just confirmed to Parliament that he’d expect all public service employees to take a two-year wage freeze.
Clearly, as far as Fisher is concerned, this laddie is for turning…