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March 3, 2014 12:19 PM

Two Shropshire Councillors have discovered that the Council has spent a total of £47,950 since last May's elections on allowances for 5 Chairs of Scrutiny Panels who have met, on average, only 4.4 times each. One only chaired 3 meetings, that's £3,196 per meeting.

Charlotte Barnes, Lib Dem Councillor for Bishops Castle, said "At a time of great austerity when key services such as care for the elderly, public transport and roads are being cut back it is outrageous that large sums of council taxpayers' money is being spent for so little work.

"What is worse is that they do not even do the job properly. Scrutiny panels are meant to scrutinise the work of the Council and hold them to account for any shortcomings. Ideally the Chairs of scrutiny committees should be opposition Councillors. Under this Administration we have none of that - scrutiny is a rubber stamp exercise under a party loyalist."

Scrutiny Meetings since May 2013:

Enterprise and Growth Scrutiny Committee - 2 formal meetings, 2 informal
Children's Scrutiny - 4 formal meetings, 1 informal
Performance Management Scrutiny Committee - 2 formal meetings, 1 informal
Environment and Services Scrutiny Committee - 3 formal meetings, 1 informal
Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee - 5 formal meetings, 1 informal

Pay for each Chair £959 per month.

Councillors Charlotte Barnes and Hanna Fraser presented their findings to the full meeting of Shropshire Council on Thursday.Following Cllr Barnes and Frasers intervention the Leader of the Council has now agreed to meet with all group leaders to convene an early meeting of the Independent Remuneration Panel to get them to look again at Councillors allowances. Currently 31 out of 33 special responsibility allowances are paid to Conservative Councillors.