It is with sincere sadness that we have heard that Shireen Ritchie is unwell. And no one, least of all this blog, likes to kick someone when they are down. But our clear policy is to alert resident taxpayers to ways in which their money is spent. It is for this reason alone that we have to dwell upon councillor allowances: after all, times are tough for all of us and how our money is spent is of paramount importance.
We have heard that Baroness Ritchie has just stepped down as Chair of Local Government Children and Young People Programme Board. This is a sub committee of the LGA, which Merrick Cockell chairs.
With some surprise we learnt that this post attracted an allowance of £15,500 per annum with expenses bringing it to £18,000 a year
In addition Shireen Ritchie is a Cabinet member of RBK&C. For this she receives some £55,000 a year, including expenses. Finally, she sits in the House of Lords for which she is entitled to claim a maximum, with expenses, of nearly £47,000 per annum.
We are not going to dwell upon her qualifications for these positions but the clear fact remains that she has gross allowances of close to £120,000 a year.
We wish Baroness Ritchie a speedy return to good health but we do counsel her to take leave of absence from the Cabinet whilst she is recovering.