COUNCILLORS are being left with ‘no hiding place’ over the issue of cutting their numbers – which could save more than £360,000 a year.

This idea was first mooted two years ago and the change was expected to be brought in for next year’s local government election.

But earlier this year a Bromley Council spokesman told News Shopper it would not be possible to change the system in time for the 2014 election because the council has to undertake a governance review.

And it said ‘because of the electoral cycle’ any proposals to reduce the number of councillors from 60 to 40 would now be considered for 2018.

This delay could cost more than £1m in councillor pay, which could have been spent on vital services.

But in a letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government to political campaigner Rod Reed it says there is no need to wait till 2018.

Instead the numbers could be cut as soon as a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission has been carried out, which usually takes around 18 months.

The letter states: “The Government has recently offered to implement changes to councillor numbers where reviews have taken place as soon after the review is completed as possible (and not await the next scheduled election).

“As you can see from the above, where possible central Government is endeavouring to encourage and assist local authorities in reducing costs.”

Mr Reed, 53, of Foxgrove Avenue, Beckenham, said: “I’m trying to leave them no hiding place.

“It looks like they are after extending their jobs for another four years.

“It’s a million pounds down the drain which could be used to save services.

“I appear to have the Government, in principle, on my side.”

A Bromley Council spokesman said: "Work is continuing on a number of options to ensure we have the best make up of the council in terms of local democracy.

"Any changes would follow a Boundary Commission review, which would include consultation with local people.

"The flexibility offered by the Department for Communities and Local Government is being considered as part of this work.

"However there may be cost and other practical considerations, which could outweigh any financial benefits.”


In the 2011 budget document it says having 60 councillors comes at a cost of £1,093,000 for the financial year 2010-11.

Taking the mean average as £18,216.67 per councillor, cutting a third of them would save around £364,333.33 per year.