DURING first visit to a Malvern Hills District Council meeting, councillors debated the reintroduction of councillors' 'good causes' grants. Although it was adopted, I see dangers with the format chosen.
Every councillor being free to allocate up £500 a year for good causes in their ward is most welcome. It can be split or granted in its entirety; nothing wrong with that.
Up to £5,000 on a first-come first-served basis; now that worries me, even if some committee is to decide upon the merits of any grant.
With just one year to an election, the dominant party could (and probably will) combine councillor's Malvern Hills District Council's £5,000 bids to provide up to £15,000 of the total £20,000 budget in one swipe.
Where the dominant party also has £10,000 per county councillor divisional fund to throw into the 'look what we have done' pot, the political bias opportunities are breathtakingly tilted in their favour as we build up to the 2015 election.
As the eyes and ears of a party aligned – predominantly absent from their ward – county councillor, a district councillor can telephone the former and highlight a 'good place' for a grant from divisional (county) taxpayer funds.
The district councillor can recommend to the good cause that the MP makes a visit for a handshake and grin toward camera.
Using public money, the district councillor, county councillor and MP then all appear in the press, giving the false impression that one party is doing all the work, and are the best listeners when it comes to resident interaction.
The district councillor will get warm recognition in the political party magazine, and will most likely be awarded a 'portfolio' after the election, with significant associated financial gain.
Malvern Hills District Council's February 2014 decision to award an allowance of £1,000 each to the leaders of the political parties; now taxpayers will be so impressed by that, surely it will just be used for election leaflets to support the candidates of that party?
The only party leader to act with integrity was Julian Roskams, Green party. He voted against the allowances and vowed to donate any allowance paid to him to charity.
Malvern town councillor