Leading Sheffield councillor stands down

A leading Sheffield councillor is standing down because it’s too difficult juggling the role with his career and family.

By Lucy Ashton
Monday, 18 February, 2019, 12:32
Green councillor Robert Murphy

Green councillor Robert Murphy won’t seek re-election at May’s local elections after 11 years of representing City ward.

“It’s time to get my life back,” he said. “I put a great deal of stress on myself and my family over the years and I want to concentrate on my children and my heating business.

“When I first started I had a normal job and my employer gave me time off to attend council meetings but the amount of time wasn’t really enough to do the job properly so I ended up leaving my job. I then found it very difficult to make ends meet for a few years.

“There is a reason why most councillors are older, wealthier members of the city. You do get forced into a position of wanting to do the best for the city but also for your family. Not many parents of young children are councillors.”

Councillors receive a basic allowance of just under £11,000 but many have to boost their income with jobs outside of the Town Hall.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Coun Murphy, who is the speaker for the Green Party, said: “Councillors are so poorly paid for the amount of work they do that it discourages certain people in the community. The allowances didn’t go up in Sheffield for five years during the worst of the credit crunch.

“I could easily do one or two meetings every night of the week. Being a councillor depends a lot on the ward you represent and the attitude you have.

“Because they are in opposition, the Greens and Lib Dems have to work a lot harder to get officers to do things. It’s more of a full time job for opposition councillors because we don’t have the support of the administration.

“I have noticed a difference as we have grown as a party. When there was two Green councillors we were just fighting fire but now we have six councillors we can cover all the scrutiny meetings so we know everything which is going on.”

Coun Murphy ran for election as Sheffield City Regional Mayor. He previously represented Central ward and was the party’s local transport spokesman.