Taxation with a Pinch of Representation

Serving the public good is something to be admired. Some people appear almost to have an innate talent, calling if you will, to work day in and day out on town or county councils in order to ensure that nationally allotted taxpayer funding is spent wisely on a local level to the benefit of all, and as part of the British democratic process. Yet our elected local councillors receive pathetically low amounts of compensation for the work we expect them to do. These ‘allowances’ range from as little as £475 per year to as high as, wait for it, 10k to 13k (Corby Borough Council website: Councillors Allowances April 2011 to March 2012). If we were to take this as the ‘first port of call’ for anyone wishing to enter the political arena then we must surely assume that money cannot possibly be their motivating factor. xvxvxvsdrgvxSo what is it that stirs one, anyone, to make a stand for any political party at a local level? More importantly, what do we as citizens truly expect in return when our local representatives are ‘paid’ such ridiculously low sums of money for the job in hand? Many of our representatives work in other jobs like the rest of us, then devote any spare time to council business, hence the word ‘allowance’ as opposed to ‘pay’ or salary. I think differently. My belief is that our local needs in a modern and more complex world demand more attention from our representatives at both borough and county levels with full time, properly paid councillors at the helm. Of course, this is a double edged sword. On the one hand we need to be able to provide these full time posts and how could we possibly offer such subsidy? Yet if we do nothing we will continue to get precisely what it currently ‘says on the tin’: part-time. This half-hearted representation at any level can never truly embody the views or needs of any population.


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