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56 councillors not needed to serve Lichfield’s 132,000 population

Lichfield city councillor Ian Jackson believes 56 councillors are not needed at district level to serve a population of 132,000.

Mr Jackson, who represents the Leomansley ward believes the authority’s numbers should be cut by a third.

The Council voted to retain its current size back in July pending a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Jackson said: “I would cut the number of councillors by a third.

“We have small wards across Lichfield. There are three councillors representing wards with 6,000 or 7,000 electors, which is quite unnecessary.

“Other Councils have one councillor representing a ward with 20,000 people.”

And Mr Jackson believes reducing the number of elected members would save the authority money.

He said: “Currently councillors allowances run at £3,000 pounds including expenses.

“If you cut the number of elected members by 20. You would roughly save up to £60,000 or £70,000.”

His Liberal Democrat colleague city councillor Marion Bland, who represents the Chadsmead ward agreed cutting councillor numbers would provide value for money to ratepayers.

However, councillor Jackson admits additional cuts across Lichfield by the district authority was always inevitable.

He said: “These cuts are not the fault of central government.

“Lichfield District Council has lived beyond its means for quite some time.

“Over the last 15 years money gained from the Council housing sell offs in the 1980s was used to keep Council tax low.

“Everyone on the Council is in favour of keeping Council tax low, but the problem is all that money raised in the 1980s has been spent.”

However, District Council leader Mike Wilcox stressed no final decision has been made over Council numbers.

Conservative Cllr Wilcox said: “The decision to retain our 56 elected members was made by the full Council in July.

“The Local Government Boundary review is looking at how many elected councillors we need to run the Council, as part of our review on how to make savings in the services we provide.

“They said we should stay at the current level of 56 members. But they will hold a public consultation, before making their final decision to us in November.”

And Mr Wilcox insisted money raised through housing sell offs in the 1980s was reinvested wisely into the Lichfield economy.

He said: “The Garrick theatre was bought through capital raised from the 1980s housing sell offs, which has helped bring investment into the city.

“We used some of the capital money receipts to move forward as an authority. We now get a seven per cent return on buildings we own, which are used by traders. That is more than the 0.5 per cent we get from the banks.”

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Cynic

    24th August, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    ““They said we should stay at the current level of 56 members. But they will hold a public consultation, before making their final decision to us in November.”

    Just ask the people to vote via internet (low cost) if they would like to see a third or more reduction – job done.

  2. johnthemon

    25th August, 2013 at 9:06 am

    “And Mr Wilcox insisted money raised through housing sell offs in the 1980s was reinvested wisely into the Lichfield economy.”

    “He said: “The Garrick theatre was bought through capital raised from the 1980s housing sell offs,”

    “reinvested wisely” 56 councillors! far too many if this is their way of thinking.

  3. Phil

    25th August, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Equally, cut the number of parish (city) councillors. Significant proportion of council tax goes to them. In fact get rid of it completely. Tamworth which is twice the size of Lichfield city has no parish / town council and seems to cope.

  4. RookWood

    25th August, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I believe if you wish to get to the root cause of the issue you probably need to use expressions such as ‘snout’ and ‘trough’.

  5. Cynic

    25th August, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    “He said: “The Garrick theatre was bought through capital raised from the 1980s housing sell offs, which has helped bring investment into the city.”

    If you say it often enough some people may believe it.

    Some of us get the impression the council just love to spend (waste?) our tax.

    Perhaps there lies the problem – the council class’s the Garrick which has cost many £M,s as a success .Most business people class a loss making venture a FAILURE.

    Else ware we see the council spending money on a “wood” .I love trees and think planted in the correct spot can only improve the environment. What better than a stroll in a shady wood with all its flora and fauna – a place animals can live in peace. How then can our council upset the locals by ,apparently, picking a spot which ruins an existing parkland ! Why not improve an area rather than wasting money to destroy an already nice area.

  6. johnthemon

    25th August, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    “Some of us get the impression the council just love to spend (waste?) our tax.

    Perhaps there lies the problem”

    In all fairness these counsellors are in over their heads, no ifs or buts about it, they are not capable of dealing with such amounts of money and the responsibility that goes with it.