Shropshire Council has one of the highest gender pay gaps of all councils – it must stop making excuses and tackle the problem

At 2pm on Maundy Thursday afternoon, just as everyone was slipping away for the Easter break, Shropshire Council issued a press release detailing how much men and women are paid by the council. I have taken a reality check on this. Its positive tone belies the reality that Shropshire Council is bumping along the bottom on closing the gender pay gap. Only 12 councils in England pay women less than Shropshire Council.

Maundy Thursday was a good time to bury bad news and there was certainly bad news to bury. What the council was anxious to slip out before the Easter break was that it is one of the worst performers on equal pay in the England. Only 12 of more than 300 councils in England have a larger gender pay gap than Shropshire Council.

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Hike in car parking charges for Ludlow confirmed as scrutiny at Shropshire Council fails

I felt physically ill when I sat down at Shropshire Council’s Performance Management Scrutiny Committee last Wednesday. We were there to yet again to argue against a damaging rise in parking charges in Ludlow from next September. It was the second time the matter had come to scrutiny. The last meeting looked like a stitch up. I knew the moment that I walked in at this meeting we were due a repeat. And it proved to be so. We are get charges until 8pm on the streets in the town centre and they will be set at £1.80 an hour, the highest outside Shrewsbury. There is no justification for this.

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Dealing with emergencies in Ludlow – we need to ensure our community is prepared

Snow, flood, fire. They are the obvious emergencies that have and could occur again in Ludlow. There is the unexpected too. A coach or rail crash. A bridge demolished. There are also the things we tend not to think about. A flu pandemic. A shutdown of the countryside due to disease in livestock. Disruption of food supply chains. Loss of power.

The whole point of emergency planning, contingency planning, call it what you will, is that we must be prepared for routine events and exceptional events. That means local preparation as well as working alongside the blue light services and Shropshire Council.

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Streetlights could go out in Shropshire after councillors refuse upgrade plan

On Thursday, Shropshire Council rejected plans to invest in upgraded LED streetlights. There is a danger that many streetlights will go out as old sodium lamps fail. The rejection by Conservative councillors also means that street lighting will cost taxpayers more in the long run. The Conservatives also rejected proposals to work with parish councils on environmental improvements.

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Shropshire councillors vote to increase council tax but not councillor’s allowances after heated debates (updated)

Yesterday’s Shropshire Council meeting was quite lively at times. The subject matter was duller than dust – the council’s finances. But it did get a bit hot under the collar, with raised voices, swearing and gasps of incredulity. Conservatives even voted against Conservative motions.

Councillors squabbled over whether to raise the pay of the political leaders and eventually agreed not to do so – for now.

Councillors did agree a £209m net budget for next year and to raise council tax by 5.99%. With police, fire and Ludlow Town Council also making increases, the overall council tax bill in Ludlow will increase by 6.7%.

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