Cllr Ross Grant: Can the City Council afford 54 councillors?

When the Labour party adopted the elected mayor system for Leicester1 the obvious question left unanswered was what should the rest of the Council look like.

By Council I mean the elected strata that sits, traditionally at least, the top of an organisation that is responsible for delivering services to the people of Leicester.

When the Council used to meet, the 54 councillors together were the supreme authority in the city. That has now changed.

Now the authority sits with one person, the City Mayor.

So what is Council for? And does it need 54 councillors who receive pay and expenses2?

How does that compare to an US city which has a mayor? Well typically a US city of comparable size to Leicester3 has only 11 elected representatives other than the mayor.

What the people of Leicester should now be told is why we have not done this too, and if it isn't done what the councillors are doing.

At a time when services are under such extreme pressure there needs to be real, not sentimental, arguments why we spend nearly £1m on elected politicians.

Until there are answers to these questions there should be no increase in the pay of politicians in our city.

In fact, we were told the new system was more efficient, so we should be told where the savings are.

Now, more than ever, we can ill afford busy fools.


1 December 2010, Council voted for an elected mayor, passed on a Labour majority against the Conservative and Lib-Dem groups.

2 The minimum any councillor has received since April 2009 is over £10,000, many get more.

3 Population 250,000 - 350,000.