Its a pleasing change to blog about public representatives who are making a public demonstration of their recognition of the contempt in which elected politicians are currently held. The 9 Conservative Councillors on Powys County Council have decided not to accept any increase in their pay for next year. Some will arrange not to receive the money, and others will donate the money to local charities - an example of politicians putting their money alongside their mouths.
In general, I'm not in favour of this sort of action unless there is a special reason. Well this year there is a special reason. Consequent upon the destruction of the UK's public finances, there will inevitably follow a significant reduction in the block grant that passes from the Treasury to the National Assembly for Wales. In turn, there will inevitably be a significant reduction in the support grant that is given to local authorities. I accept that its possible to recoup some of this reduction from the Council Tax payer. But this would be immoral at a time when the capacity of residents of Powys to stump up is falling like a stone.
The reality is that there's going to be cuts in public services, a situation that's likely to continue for a few years. Employees will be losing their jobs and vulnerable people will have reduced access to services. Councillors must demonstrate that they understand the pain that vulnerable people are going through. There is no better way of creating an understanding between the governed and the governing than sharing the pain. Tonight, I'm proud of the 9 Conservative councillors who serve on Powys County Council.