ONE of the most eye-catching stories this week concerned the proposal by an independent panel that Richmondshire councillors should receive a 44 per cent rise in their basic allowances.

Councillors thankfully weighed in saying that the proposal was “ridiculous” and the panel itself said, with some understatement, that it was “not a particularly apt time” for the review.

It has echoes of the situation in Parliament where the MPs’ pay panel is still recommending they receive a 4.1 per cent rise of £3,300.

There is a worthwhile debate about the payment of elected politicians. The Prime Minister, who is taking some immense decisions at the moment, is entitled to £158,000 – a fraction of what a failed shopkeeper on a yacht in the Mediterranean has in his bank account.

In Richmondshire, councillors seem to be £1,000-a-year or more behind what is given to their counterparts in Hambleton, so there are anomalies that need to be addressed.

Now, though, is not the time. In the private sector, pay had not recovered from the last crash when the virus struck, and now there are people who have lost everything. For the time being at least, our elected officials should be pleased to have a guarantee income – many of their constituents would love such an assurance.