From David Key, Sandown:

Not satisfied with granting themselves an increase in allowances during a pandemic when many of the people they were elected to serve are in reduced circumstances or not earning at all, the IW Council voted through an increase in council tax of a whopping 5.1 percent.

The tax for a band D property is now £40.70 per week.

Faced with ever upwardly spiralling utility bills, the shocking increases in the price of food (with more to come) and the rising cost of living generally I would like the IW Council to advise me on what portion of my diminishing grocery budget I should cut in order to help fund their lifestyles?

At the meeting approving the increase in council tax, Cllr Richard Hollis said: "Valuable councillors put in a hell of a lot of work, I don’t see why they should be belittled for having a small amount of recompense for the hours and hours that they do.”

How is the ‘value’ of a councillor measured? Is there a scale, a chart? We could invent a unit of measurement.

As for belittlement, there is plenty to go at. Slashing services, closing toilets, ending beach cleaning, selling off buildings, the loss of the ice rink and arena at Ryde, the closing of Browns golf, taking trips to Portugal to look at plastic dinosaurs.

The combined total of councillors' allowances for 2019/2020 was £485,819.66. The increase of 2.75 per cent brings this to £498,936.79 if my sums are correct.

I’m certain St Mary’s could do a lot with half a million pounds, as could Mountbatten. I don’t have any problem giving to them.

But the IW Council? Where is the value?

It should be mandatory for councillors to publish audited annual accounts which detail how the money is spent.

Mr Hollis appears to believe it is wages earned to which he is due. Mr. Hollis, to justify the “hours and hours”, how about showing us some time sheets?

The top three earners are Ian Ward, £18,062.76, deputy leader Stuart Hutchinson, £19,205.50 and leader David Stewart £27,414.11.

£18,000 is more than some Islander’s annual income. Many of whom have more than one job in order to make ends meet. And have to pay bus fares. No travel allowance for them.

With the coming local elections, Islanders have an opportunity to rid us of these ‘Tory toadys’ who are unable to stand up to the government.

We won’t have another chance for four years.

The figures for councillors' allowances are quoted from the IW council website.

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