2,000 a year to keep Redcar and Cleveland councillor on web …

2 Oct 2012 00:001

A COUNCIL is forking out more than 2,000 a year to pay the internet bill of just one of its members.

A COUNCIL is forking out more than 2,000 a year to pay the internet bill of just one of its members.

Steve Kay Steve Kay

For Lockwood ward councillor Steve Kay to have a reliable internet connection in his Moorsholm house it costs Redcar and Cleveland Council 2,148 a year.

The satellite weblink comes as neighbours in the village continue to battle for internet improvements as they suffer slow connections.

The annual payment was revealed via a Freedom of Information request asking whether the council had paid for any elected member to have a satellite installed for internet access.

Mr Kay is entitled to paid-for internet access as part of the council s constitution. The East Cleveland Independent councillor claims it s not his responsibility to try to get a cheaper deal.

Instead, he says, it s the job of Redcar and Cleveland local authority to worry about the soaring costs.

Cllr Kay said: There is an ongoing campaign in Moorsholm because it s notoriously difficult to get decent broadband in outlying areas.

I ve been part of that campaign because we want everybody to be able to function in this day and age.

I get my internet from a satellite – but that was years in the making. Redcar and Cleveland Council tried everything to get me a fast connection, even bouncing signals from Lingdale but nothing worked.

Eventually they sorted this out with what I have now.

Mr Kay claims that until he was informed of the Freedom of Information findings, which include the fact his satellite cost 250 to be installed and previous annual bills totaled 828 before being increased to 2,148, he had no idea how much his internet connection was costing the council.

He also cannot provide the name of the internet satellite provider.

And in the weeks that have passed since he was informed of the annual bill he has not yet acted to secure a better deal.

He said: It was sanctioned by the last Labour administration and I assume the current council know what they are paying because they passed that information to me.

It s not for a councillor to sort it out – it s the job of the council.

But Trevor Watson who runs www.moorsholmbroadband.com believes a much cheaper deal could be found.

He said: I have nothing against Mr Kay having the internet, all councillors need it don t they?

But I am sure there is a more cost-effective way to provide the service he needs.

In fact, a quick search online shows satellite internet companies offering installation from just 200 and decent speeds for about 20 a month.

Mr Kay said: Now that you have told me that I suppose I could get on to the council to see if savings can be made.

But perhaps it costs more to have a more secure connection.

I don t know that, but it could be a reason for it being more expensive.

Redcar and Cleveland Council confirmed as part of its constitution it provides the necessary IT equipment and a phone line or suitable internet access for its elected members.

Mr Kay added: I know it is expensive for what it is, and yes, money could be saved but it s trivial when you compare it to the new head of adult services being paid 168,000 a year.

We should be trying to save money there not from councillors internet.

References

  1. ^ 2 Oct 2012 00:00 (www.gazettelive.co.uk)

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