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Island Independents leader steps down

Cllr Julia Baker Smith.

Cllr Julia Baker Smith.

Emily Pearce

[email protected]

@IWCPEmily

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 11:18

ONE of the few working age women councillors has quit as group leader, claiming low pay meant many authorities were run by the rich and retired.
Cllr Julia Baker Smith has stepped down as leader of the Island Independents, the largest Isle of Wight Council opposition group since the Tories won the May election, to focus on her ward work and her family.
She said: "Group leader is an unpaid position and as a working age mum I have been juggling competing priorities.
"I need to prioritise my time to ensure I can provide for my children while giving the time and attention to my ward work that Whippingham and Osborne residents deserve.
"Government cuts meant Island councillors took a 20 per cent pay cut during the last term of council, to an average of £7,500 a year, and receive no pension contributions like other jobs. 
"While this is the right thing to do to save services, it does not help to ensure a gender balance and equality and sadly leads to councils run by those who can afford the time away from work, or are already retired, rather than a truly representative cross section of society."
Cllr Baker Smith will be replaced by former group and council leader, Cllr Ian Stephens.
Cllr Shirley Smart will become deputy group leader. 

 


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