Cornwall Council allowance hike U-turn after Helston councillor's motion

Alec Robertson, Cornwall councillor for Helston North, tabled the allowance freeze motion.

Alec Robertson, Cornwall councillor for Helston North, tabled the allowance freeze motion.

First published in Helston
Last updated
Falmouth Packet: Photograph of the Author by , Ex-Reporter/Photographer

Following criticism from taxpayers and the Secretary of State, Cornwall councillors voted not to increase their allowances in a dramatic U-turn yesterday.

In October councillors had voted in favour of bumping up their pay packets by £2,472 a year - an inflation-busting rise of 20 per cent.

Since then the Conservative minister in charge of local government, Eric Pickles, weighed in to say that members should invest in “the darkest sunglasses they can possibly get” to shade their eyes from voters at the next election.

Packet readers were also critical of the move, especially given the council's recent decision to tax everyone of working age regardless of their ability to pay.

But yesterday (Tuesday) former council leader Alec Robertson, the current Conservative member for Helston North, tabled a motion to reverse the allowance increase.

The motion read the pay bump should be rescinded “in view of the council's difficult financial situation and the consequential adverse impacts on our staff.”

Mr Robertson was accused by Liberal Democrat councillor and mayor of Truro Rob Nolan as being “the most expensive councillor this authority has ever seen.”

Fellow Lib Dem Alex Folkes similarly lambasted the erstwhile leader when he said: “Councillor Robertson didn't bother to turn up to the last allowances debate but now, with the election in 78 days, he wants to reopen it.”

Mr Robertson noted the “personal jibes” and attacks on his character, and said the council had “plumbed new depths” during the debate.

But despite the back and forth, the consensus opinion came from councillor Mary May when she said she was “backing the motion, not the person.”

The motion was carried by 47 votes to 34. Seven members abstained.

Comments (8)

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9:42am Wed 13 Feb 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Whilst this may be good news for the electorate, I remain sceptical as to Councillor Alec Robertsons reasons for proposing the motion. I would additionally be interested to know if he would like to regain his position as leader of the council.
Whilst this may be good news for the electorate, I remain sceptical as to Councillor Alec Robertsons reasons for proposing the motion. I would additionally be interested to know if he would like to regain his position as leader of the council. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

11:42am Wed 13 Feb 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Apparently it is alleged that after the vote Mr Roberston said he was pleased that the vote had gone his way, he additionally stated that "I didn't want to be council leader, I was asked to do it, I am happy as a back bencher"

He didn't want to be council leader !! I don't suppose he wanted the £145,000 or how ever much it actually was a year either !!
Apparently it is alleged that after the vote Mr Roberston said he was pleased that the vote had gone his way, he additionally stated that "I didn't want to be council leader, I was asked to do it, I am happy as a back bencher" He didn't want to be council leader !! I don't suppose he wanted the £145,000 or how ever much it actually was a year either !! Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

10:12pm Wed 13 Feb 13

helztonboy says...

not sure of the figures but seem to remember that the number quoted was for 3 years or longer (his time as leader)?
not sure of the figures but seem to remember that the number quoted was for 3 years or longer (his time as leader)? helztonboy
  • Score: 0

7:38am Fri 15 Feb 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

Well how ever much it was that he was paid, I become more sceptical by the day, if Councillor Robertson said he didn't want to become leader and is happy as a back bencher then I wonder why I am so sure he wants to become leader again.
Well how ever much it was that he was paid, I become more sceptical by the day, if Councillor Robertson said he didn't want to become leader and is happy as a back bencher then I wonder why I am so sure he wants to become leader again. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

7:46am Fri 15 Feb 13

Gill Zella Martin 09 says...

I don't care who is leader of the council providing they put Cornwall first and don't talk a load of waffle and assume that all the public are gullible.
I don't care who is leader of the council providing they put Cornwall first and don't talk a load of waffle and assume that all the public are gullible. Gill Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

12:04pm Sat 16 Feb 13

Lanty Slee says...

Oink oink oink little piggies.

Nice to see they blush sometimes, while they're busy with their noses in the trough.
Oink oink oink little piggies. Nice to see they blush sometimes, while they're busy with their noses in the trough. Lanty Slee
  • Score: 0

12:06pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Poldark says...

I think Robertson has an ulterior motive, his salary was a £45k, he say's he was asked to accept the position
But no he went on and made a laughing stock of himself and had to stand down.
Election time is now looming and what better way to get his face in the news than to back the reversal of the allowance as I say an ulterior motive I hope the voters of Helston really see through him .
I think Robertson has an ulterior motive, his salary was a £45k, he say's he was asked to accept the position [ he could have refused!!] But no he went on and made a laughing stock of himself and had to stand down. Election time is now looming and what better way to get his face in the news than to back the reversal of the allowance as I say an ulterior motive I hope the voters of Helston really see through him . Poldark
  • Score: 0

3:37pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

I still strongly believe Councillor Alec Robertson would like to resume his position as leader of Cornwall Council and I additionally believe that he thinks that the Conservatives will have an outright win.
His criterion of public opinion leaves a lot to be desired in my view, as this was clearly demonstrated by public reaction to the lack of democracy attached to his original proposals with the joint venture initiative, which resulted in a public petition. I believe that if Councillor Robertson regains position as Cornwall Council leader then he may still aim to privatise some services. I additionally think a course on how to engage with the public should be mandatory.
I personally do not care who is leader of the council providing they put Cornwall first and leave any political agenda out, sadly I do not believe that anyone that adheres to a political party will put Cornwall before Westminster.
I still strongly believe Councillor Alec Robertson would like to resume his position as leader of Cornwall Council and I additionally believe that he thinks that the Conservatives will have an outright win. His criterion of public opinion leaves a lot to be desired in my view, as this was clearly demonstrated by public reaction to the lack of democracy attached to his original proposals with the joint venture initiative, which resulted in a public petition. I believe that if Councillor Robertson regains position as Cornwall Council leader then he may still aim to privatise some services. I additionally think a course on how to engage with the public should be mandatory. I personally do not care who is leader of the council providing they put Cornwall first and leave any political agenda out, sadly I do not believe that anyone that adheres to a political party will put Cornwall before Westminster. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

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