We shouldn’t pay KCC expenses bill
As one of the largest local authorities in the country, Kent County Council spends a lot of taxpayers’ money to provide services to residents. At a time when every penny counts because of the continuing public sector spending squeeze, it has a responsibility to council taxpayers to ensure public money is spent on the right things.
It is not an easy time for KCC. Only last week, it announced it would need to cut spending by a staggering £240m from 2015 to cope with a shortfall in government grants. Which makes it all the more baffling that a week later, county councillors are considering hiking their travel expenses and want us to pick up the bill.
The taxman has come knocking at County Hall and told it that its 84 elected members must pay tax on their journeys from home to County Hall as they are not strictly business trips. KCC’s response is to propose bumping up councillors’ mileage rates to compensate for the tax deductions.
Councillors will no doubt argue that they should not be out of pocket but that is a flawed argument. The fact is that they should have been paying tax already and have effectively been getting away with not doing so.
Many councillors work hard and are committed to helping others. But this proposal smacks of helping themselves. Worse, they want us to pick up the bill.
They should think again.