Rotherham’s only independent councillor declines £11,000 allowance
Rotherham’s only independent councillor has turned down his £11,000 basic allowance, in a bid to earn the trust of constituents.
Newly-elected councillor Michael Sylvester says he is “honoured” to win the Dalton and Thrybergh seat during May’s month’s elections, by a landslide 591 votes – more than double his Labour counterpart.
Coun Sylvester says his first act will be to decline the basic allowance of £11,471 per year, and only claim for loss of earnings.
He said: “on the doorstep, I regularly came across the following – ‘you all p*ss in the same pot’, ‘it means nothing to me, I don’t vote’, and ‘it doesn’t matter, nothing ever changes’.
He added that he has come across “more poverty and despair” in the last three years of campaigning than he has in the last 30 years.
“The brutal reality for all of us involved in the political process is that this election has been a resounding ‘curse on all your houses’ from the electors.
“We mean nothing in the lives of people who are not living in many cases, but struggling to survive.
“This is not a time to boast or have self pride, we need to put on our hairshirts and realise we are all failing the ones who lead the hardest lives in our wards.
“After signing my acceptance of office, my first act will be to decline my allowances and will only claim over the next few years for loss of income.
“I hope this will be a start to earning the trust of the vast majority of people who don’t vote, and say sorry for being part of a system that fails you.”