Councillor who opposed 25 per cent allowances rises among those who protested about ‘pigs to the trough’ web debate heading
TORY county councillor Steve Tierney has admitted he was one of those whose protests led to time being called on a website debate on councillors allowances entitled ‘pigs to the trough.’
He said: “I was one of those people who reported the title as inappropriate. Healthy debate and strong criticism where necessary is a good thing and I will always support it.
The Wisbech councillor, who opposed the rises anyway, said: “I felt that sort of title was unhelpful and lowered the tone. There’s no need for rudeness.”
Cllr Tierney added via social media website Twitter that: “A few people have mentioned to me that they felt it inappropriate. You can make a strong case without being an ass.”
Cllr Tierney was one of the few Tories to oppose the 25 per cent increase in allowances and outlined his reasons at full council as to why he felt they shouldn’t go ahead.
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“None of the Wisbech councillors are bothered by kissing goodbye to rise - we were all giving it away,” he added.
Those hosting the Fenland website Shape Your Place – set up with part of an �80,000 Government grant and run by Cambridgeshire County Council- pulled the plug on the web heading this week but kept the debate open.
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The Chatteris version of ‘Shape Your Place’ has been bombarded with comments since launching the forum last month- and so popular was ‘pigs the trough1’ that they then launched ‘pigs to the trough2’ to handle responses.
But now council officials – embroiled in a nationwide debate on their 25 per cent record breaking increases- have decided enough is enough.
“ShapeYourPlace has received several reports of the use of the description ‘pigs to the trough’ as being inappropriate and unhelpful,” said a county council official.
“As a result all references to ‘pigs to the trough’ have been removed and all comments and threads can be found under councillors allowances.”
The website was launched last year, initially in Wisbech, before linked versions were set up in March, Whittlesey and Chatteris. Its aim is to “give residents across Fenland the power to improve their neighbourhood.”
The Chatteris ‘pigs to the trough’ debate has also been used to extensively air views on the �300,000 pay-off received by Fenland Council’s former chief executive Tim Pilsbury.
“About a month ago I filled in a questionnaire through a link on Shape Your Place asking which cuts I thought should be made to things such as public transport but also to care provided for the old and the ill”, wrote one correspondent.
“Looking back on this I am so unbelievably angry. How can we listen to councillors telling us we need to make cutbacks when money is thrown around like this?”
The commentator thanked this newspaper for “exposing this”.
Reg Kemp waded in with “the effrontery and sheer insensitivity” of the county council in awarding themselves a 25 per cent pay rise.
“If ever there was an ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude by the ruling Conservatives this surely must be it,” he wrote.
Another voiced the thought that people should “keep the pigs’ snouts out of the trough before they bleed us dry” whilst another felt the �190,000 savings to be made by cutting opening hours at one stop shops indicated “we are up you know what creek without a paddle.”