Anger at councillor living 400 miles away who refused pay cut in solidarity with Cambridgeshire council staff

Cllr Donald Adey
Cllr Donald Adey
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A “parasite” county councillor living 400 miles away from his ward has been slammed as a “blight on our democracy” as it emerges he is the only councillor who will not give up 1.2 per cent of their pay this year in solidarity with workers who had the cut imposed on them.

All but one of Cambridgeshire’s county councillors will give up 1.2 per cent of their pay this year in solidarity with workers, but errant Trumpington councillor Donald Adey (Independent) will be the only one to keep his full pay cheque.

Councillors get a basic allowance of £4,677 from the city council and more than £10,000 from the county council.

In October, Cambridgeshire County Council was labelled a “Grinch” when it was announced it was imposing three days of unpaid time off on council workers over the Christmas period.

Staff had to take three days off without pay between Christmas and New Year, losing the equivalent of 1.2 per cent of their annual pay. The move helped the council plug a £5 million hole in its budget.

Council leader Steve Count suggested councillors themselves should also have a 1.2 per cent reduction in their allowances in solidarity with council staff. This was put forward in a motion to full council, and agreed last year.

It has now been revealed that out of the council’s 61 councillors, 60 have agreed to a reduction in their allowances.

Donald Adey, dubbed “disappearing Donald” by colleagues, the councillor who hardly attends meetings, whose colleagues say does no work, and who has moved to live 400 miles away in Fife, is the only councillor who will take home his full pay cheque.

Cllr Adey claims he does casework and can talk to people via Skype, but council colleagues say they are facing a backlog of work that he is not doing.

Cllr Count said there was no point “bandying nice words” and said that what Cllr Adey was doing is “wrong”.

“Cllr Adey is a disgrace to the name councillor,” said Cllr Count. “He is a real blight on our whole democracy. How he can continue to claim his allowances while pretending to represent people from almost 400 miles away is ridiculous.

“We need the Government to make a change in the law so we can get rid of this parasite.”

All the other councillors either agreed to the pay reduction or volunteered to donate the difference to Unison in a bid to help people affected by the cuts. Three councillors made other arrangements, including making donations to local churches or parish councils.

Cllr Adey represents the Trumpington ward on Cambridge City and Cambridgeshire County councils.

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire County Council said the council had tried to contact Cllr Adey, but that he had so far made no reply or offered any explanation.

“Councillor Adey has so far made no voluntary contribution,” the spokeswoman said. “Democratic Services wrote to him, as he was not present at the meeting, to contact him on this but heard nothing.”

Currently, Cllr Adey only has to attend one council meeting every six months to avoid being disqualified. As Cllr Adey did not attend full council this week, it is understood he has to attend the next full meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council or he will be at risk of losing his seat.

Cllr Count said he had explored ways of ousting Cllr Adey, but repeated that there needs to be a change in the law before they can get rid of him.

Cllr Adey has been contacted for comment.

Josh Thomas, Local Democracy Reporting Service