Shropshire Star comment: Wise leadership from Peter Nutting to turn down £5k pay rise

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

And quite right too.

Peter Nutting

That will be the reaction of many people to the news that a recommendation to give a £5,757 "pay rise" to Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting has been put on hold.

It is not something he was seeking or suggested. Indeed, he has said himself it was something he neither wanted, nor asked for.

Nevertheless, it was part of a package from an independent panel of proposed ups and downs in the allowance system which would, in his case, have meant he would receive £40,299.

Councillor Nutting proposed the motion which has seen the matter sent back to the panel for a rethink.

Like increases in MPs' pay, there is never a good time to put up the allowances of councillors or, in this case, those of the council leader.


The basic allowances of councillors were proposed to be frozen under the package which would have meant a real terms cut because of the effects of inflation.

When weighed against the council's overall budget, the amounts involved are relatively not great, but the issue has great significance in terms of something on which you can put no price - the way things look to the public.


Many Salopians can only dream of a pay rise of nearly £6,000 and some in part time work might not earn all that much more than that in a whole year. And £40,000 a year? That's an unachievable fortune for lots of council tax payers, who are being squeezed even further because, at the same meeting, councillors overwhelmingly voted for a six per cent rise in the council tax - the maximum allowed by the government.

For that extra money, the council led by Councillor Nutting is not giving a six per cent improvement in its services across the board. Rather than doing more, the council is doing less, with more and more having to be picked up by community groups and the like.

For the council to put up Councillor Nutting's allowance while pleading poverty and saying the council does not have enough money and needs to make savings would be the most mixed of messages and would give an unfortunate impression.

Doing a difficult and responsible job in these tough times, the leader of Shropshire Council needs to have the confidence of the public.

Through no fault of his own, giving him a whopping rise in his allowance when the council is in financial straits would be seen by ordinary people as one rule for them, one rule for us.

In turning it down, Councillor Nutting has shown wise leadership.


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