IWCA Attacks Councillors' Pay Hikes As Youth Cuts Bite

In a typically tasteless display of Hackney Council’s real priorities, councillors have awarded themselves a sizeable pay rise while at the same time overseeing the cuts to summer playscheme places. In a letter to the Hackney Gazette, which reported both stories last week, Carl Taylor responds:

I have to congratulate the gazette, once again, for juxtaposing two stories in last week’s edition, which demonstrate the misplaced priorities of Hackney Council: “Councillors give themselves pay rise” and “No place to go”, about the reduction in summer playscheme places for 5 -13 year olds from 36 schemes to just six.

This will, of course, as Hackney Play Association say, “have a direct impact on youth offending and anti-social behaviour”.

The ‘confusion’ of responsibility between the Council and the Learning Trust is not a new phenomenon. The recent closure of Laburnum School was, according to the council, the responsibility of the Learning Trust, while the LT (quoted in a national newspaper) maintain that “… they [Hackney Council] retain ultimate authority for education in the borough”. As with other Hackney Council privatisations, for example the late but unlamented ITNet debacle in the Housing Benefit service, it is easy to see how this abdication of responsibility is very convenient for those who are supposed to be accountable to their electors.

Now we have the sickening spectacle of large pay rises for councilors, recommended by an “independent” panel. Luke Akehurst asks us to believe that this will safeguard them against “allegations of having our noses in the trough”. I – and no doubt other Gazette readers – would be very interested to know exactly who made up this independent panel. Are they as independent as they unconvincingly claim Learning Trust to be? And how does this unjustifiably pay hike square with the cuts being made to youth provision in the borough?

You might be able to fool some of us some of the time, but you ain’t fooling all of us all of the time!