Thank you! Bexley’s Councillors to fund special event to thank volunteers for their vital role in dealing with the covid pandemic

Bexley’s Councillors have announced a special event to say thank you to the army of volunteers and key workers who have helped our community through the last year in dealing with the covid pandemic is being planned for the summer.

The savings made by freezing councillors allowances has created the opportunity to fund the event.

The freeze in allowances paid to councillors was first announced by the Conservative administration in December last year, was re-affirmed in March this year and formally approved at the Annual Council meeting on 26 May 2021 when the annual Members’ Allowance Scheme was determined.

Allowances have therefore been frozen for two years, remaining at the 2019/20 level.

Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, said:

“We have all been impacted by covid in many ways, but one of the positive things to shine through this period has been the way our community and our borough have come together, to look out for each other, to make sure our neighbours were looked after and it is right to celebrate this.

I’m proud that Bexley’s Conservative and other Councillors have agreed to fund this entire event by refusing to take the proposed increase in Councillors allowances and instead choosing to use that money to stage this great thank you to our brilliant volunteers.”

Cllr David Leaf, Deputy Leader of the Council, added:

“From 2009 to 2018, Bexley’s Conservative Councillors, refused to take any increase in allowances, then, we voluntarily cut the number of Councillors themselves by 30%. Our actions to cut the cost of politics have saved taxpayers’ money and meant we can invest more in services.

As we stated last December and again in March, we will refuse previously planned increases in allowances, and instead, the money will be used to celebrate the amazing efforts of volunteers and keyworkers over the last year getting our Borough through this unprecedented pandemic.”

At the start of the pandemic, Bexley’s Conservative Council responded by:

  • Setting up food and essential supplies delivery network to ensure 3,000 vulnerable residents got a hot meal every day
  • Put in place a system to collect prescriptions and medicines for those unable to leave their homes
  • Created a free parking scheme for 4,000 carers and volunteers over one weekend
  • Set up the Covid19 helpline operating 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to make sure those who needed help were able to get it
  • Secured funding to support local businesses stay afloat and re-open
  • Rolled out the most successful covid vaccination programme in London.   

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