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The days of “snout in the trough” politicians are over – or so we are led to believe. Pity the news hasn’t reached Birmingham, where four senior councillors are getting an extra £12,000 a year for a job that has traditionally been seen as a civic duty.

The lucky quartet are the three main party leaders Mike Whitby, Paul Tilsley and Sir Albert Bore – along with regeneration chief Neville Summerfield.

Following a vote taken at Council on Tuesday night, they’ll now receive a Special Responsibility Allowance for their role as non-executive directors of the NEC, which is ultimately owned by the city.

Some bright spark at the Council House spotted that the four non execs appointed by the Chamber of Commerce each gets annual remuneration of 12K – and decided it was “anomalous” that councillors didn’t get the same reward.

Never mind that our elected representatives have been carrying out unpaid duties on the NEC board ever since the mid-70’s, regarding it as part of their already well-paid jobs.

Not that everyone was happy about the change. Dozens of councillors, mostly on the Labour benches, refused to vote on the motion sanctioning the new pay deal.

They were miffed that the original motion proposing the new pay perk never mentioned the actual amount of dosh Messrs Whitby, Tilsley, Bore and Summerfield were about to enjoy.

Well, it’s so vulgar to discuss money in public isn’t it?

It took Labour councillor Carl Rice to put the row to rest by revealing the £12,000 sum.

The wrangling had an added dimension of irony given that an earlier Conservative motion had called for greater transparency in MP’s expenses.

What’s sauce for the goose clearly isn’t sauce for the gander.



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