I have no problem with Cllr. Branley’s allowances…..
….so long as she tells the people of Westoe ward about them.
So after years and years of not claiming any allowance for giving up her time to serve as a South Tyneside District councillor Jane Branley has decided to join the majority of our other councillors in claiming what local government entitles her to. I have no problem with that at all, being an elected councillor, for most people, is an onerous task with responsibilities and duties which are time consuming, and unless we want purely voluntary councillors then we had better be prepared to go back to the days when only those of independent means could afford to give up their time to serve on the council. Rest assured, there are not that many people in South Tyneside who could afford to do that, and if we want our councillors to be fully representative of the people that elect them then they would have to include many who are employed, unemployed, housewives, retired people, and younger people, the allowance is there in recognition that being a local councillor these days is pretty much a full time job and without it many suitable people simply would not be interested in serving their community.
Having said that, the vast majority of councillors in South Tyneside are now earning on average around £12000 pa (taxable), we seem to have a lot of people with “special responsibilities”.
I have just learned this evening, with some shock, that Jane Branley is suffering a terminal illness, and therefore I have scrubbed the majority of the above post. It would not be right, and totally lacking in compassion to add further pressure to her or her family at this time. I certainly do not expect nor wish her to respond or to make the statement that I have called for, she now deserves time for herself and her medical treament.
I offer my sincere apologies to Jane and her family if this post has seemed insensitive or caused offence, it certainly was not meant and would not have been made at all if I was aware earlier of her current plight. I wish her well, she has a huge majority and is extremely well respected in her ward, let us offer our prayers.