Inside the Civic

Those who thought all out elections would bring some stability to our Council must be feeling embarrassed this week as Council Leader Mohammed Pervez took a scalpel to his cabinet, cutting out the disobedient Gratton and challenger Hill, and carving up the other portfolios in what is quite clearly more than the ‘tweaking’ he described it as.

The introduction of Platt and Dutton is seen as a nod to the left wingers in the group, who re-emerged in 2011 to rival the modernisers who were in danger of taking over Labour. Continue reading

Councillor Sarah Hill: It can’t be all her fault

It may be amusing that the Tax Payers Alliance has voted Councillor Sarah Hill the Pin Head of the Month due to inflicting an unnecessary council tax rise of 3.49% on the people of Stoke-on-Trent.

I know we are constantly told that this is a member led council and I am not jumping to her defence, but I do not believe for one minute that this would be Cllr Hill’s proposal, but something forced onto her by the finance officers. Continue reading

Tax Payers Alliance name Sarah Hill Pin Head of the month for February

Sarah Hill TPA pinhead of the monthThe Tax Payers Alliance have voted Councillor Sarah Hill, the Stoke-on-Trent City Council Cabinet Member for Finance as their Pin Head of the month for February.

According to the TPA Sarah is the driving force behind moves to refuse the Government’s funding that would enable a council tax freeze in Stoke-on-Trent this year and instead is pushing ahead with a 3.49% increase in bills at a time when many residents are struggling with the rising cost of living. On Thursday Sarah and her fellow councillors were set to vote through this rise, despite previous TPA research and official statistics pointing to areas where costs are already running too high, such as Continue reading

Tax Freedom Day & The Cost Of Government Day

Some sobering thoughts for you this morning.

According to calculations made by the Adam Smith Institute in London it is expected that Tax Freedom Day for the average worker in the UK will be 30 May in 2012. That means that for the first 149 days of the year, you will be earning for the taxman. Only on May 30 will you start earning for yourselves.

The Tax Payers Alliance take this calculation a step further and provides The Cost of Government Day. This is the date in the calendar year on which the average person is calculated to have earned enough gross income to pay for their share of the cost of government spending and regulation.

In 2012 The Cost of Government Day is calculated to be 26 July.

This means the average person must work for 208 days in the coming year to pay for their share of government spending and regulation combined. Out of the 208 days,the average person must work for 179 days (27 June) in the coming year to pay for their share of the cost of government spending and then work a further 29 days (26 July) of the year to pay for their share of the cost of government regulation.

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said,

Taxpayers should be looking forward to toasting in the New Year, instead the enormous cost of Government spending and regulation means they will effectively be working for the Government until the summer. Government spending and expensive regulations are costing more than half of ordinary people’s income and this simply cannot go on. The Government needs to cut spending, get rid of burdensome regulations and cut taxes to get the economy going and leave more taxpayers’ money in their own pockets.


Stoke’s 100k Kaisers

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.

Do you wish that you worked for Stoke on Trent City Council? Better still, do you wish you were one of the council elite?

Seven of Stoke on Trent’s officers earn in excess of £100K per year according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA). The information was gathered under the Freedom of Information Act by the pressure group for the year 2007/08.

They included Steve Robinson, then council manager, on £157,661, Renew North Staffordshire director Hardial Bhogal on £129,685, Regeneration director Tom Macartney on £124,449, and former director of community services, Julie Seddon, on £123,220. The city is currently offering up to £195,000 to recruit a new permanent chief executive to replace Mr Robinson.

At the moment the city council is looking to recruit eight top officers with a combined salary of £680K. This is made up of two directors and six heads of departments.

SOTCC is using the London-based agency Penna Executive Recruitment to advertise the positions. It is not known how much this agency will be paid for their recruitment skills.

The new position of Director of Housing, Environmental and Neighbourhood Services will be paid £131K per annum.

Director of Transport &Planning will receive a salary of of £100k pa.

Up to £75,000 each for the new head of environmental services and head of neighbourhood services.

About £73,000 each for the head of transport and highways, head of planning and head of human resources.

The recruitment of these top officers comes after the city council lost a number of key officers to other authorities following the resignation of the previous council manager Steve Robinson who left for the new Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Robinson took a number of key officers with him including, head of housing Alan Slater, head of human resources Euan Murdoch-Hollies, head of citywide and neighbourhood services Helen Bailey and former director of central services Julie Gill. In addition, the city’s head of highways and transportation, Stuart Davies, has gone to North Wales and planning officer Paul Feehily has moved to Cumbria.

Is the recruitment of these officers as essential as Kieran Clarke, portfolio holder for resources claims?

What do you think of the salaries on offer?

Over to you…..