Coun­cil­lors vote them­selves 20% rise

They will get a fur­ther 10% rise in 12 months

Hinckley Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAN MARTIN hinck­ley­times@trin­i­tymir­

COUN­CIL­LORS in Hinck­ley have voted to in­crease their pay by an in­fla­tion-bust­ing 20 per cent next year, with a fur­ther 10 per cent in­crease 12 months later.

The hike has caused con­tro­versy not least be­cause the Tory-run Hinck­ley and Bos­worth Bor­ough Coun­cil last voted to in­crease the al­lowances paid to its 34 coun­cil­lors by 22 per cent in 2015.

An in­de­pen­dent re­mu­ner­a­tion panel made the rec­om­men­da­tion to in­crease the ba­sic al­lowance paid to politi­cians from £4,000 to £4,800 from April rising a fur­ther 10 per cent to £5,808 by 2020/21.

The panel said the in­crease would help bring the bor­ough coun­cil’s al­lowances into line with those paid to mem­bers on sim­i­lar au­thor­i­ties and ‘to en­sure the al­lowances do not act as a bar­rier in en­cour­ag­ing coun­cil­lors from un­der­rep­re­sented com­mu­ni­ties and groups.’

The same panel rec­om­mended the al­lowance paid to the coun­cil leader rise from £10,000 to £14,520 in 2020/21.

How­ever coun­cil­lor Mike Hall, the cur­rent leader, tabled a mo­tion say­ing his pay should rise to £16,830 by 2020/21.

He will no longer be en­ti­tled to a sec­ond al­lowance for be­ing a mem­ber of the coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive but he will get the ba­sic al­lowance which he said should rise to £4,800 next year and then £5,280 the fol­low­ing year.

The Tory group also voted that coun­cil­lors should get an­nual in­creases in al­lowances in line with coun­cil of­fi­cers’ na­tional pay awards from May 2020.

Coun Hall said: “It is al­ways dif­fi­cult for mem­bers to ad­dress the is­sue of their al­lowances.

“We need to get the base line right.

“Our coun­cil­lors have com­par­a­tively low al­lowances. They do work hard, they of­ten give up work time for coun­cil busi­ness.

“For the leader’s role I’ve said there will be one pay­ment but it’s been merged with an ex­ec­u­tive role - ef­fec­tively it’s £200 less while the leader of the op­po­si­tion is get­ting a £700 pay rise.

“Last time we dis­cussed this three years ago the Lib Dems made a big point of vot­ing against the rise then they took the money any­way.

“I want to get away from the pol­i­tics by link­ing al­lowances to staff pay in­creases.”

Cllr Hall said there were 15 Tory votes in favour of the in­creases while eight op­po­si­tion Lib­eral Democrats and one Con­ser­va­tive voted against them. The au­thor­ity’s only Labour mem­ber ab­stained.

The cur­rent al­lowances regime costs the Hinck­ley and Bos­worth tax-pay­ers £230,500 a year.

Un­der the pro­pos­als set out by the in­de­pen­dent panel that cost would have risen rise by some £37,000 next year, £26,000 the year af­ter and then £28,000 the fol­low­ing year.

Coun Hall said his pro­pos­als would work out some £27,000 less ex­pen­sive than the panel’s pro­pos­als.

The coun­cil has con­firmed the new scheme will cost a fur­ther £39,700 next year and £24,620 the year af­ter.

Lib Dem deputy group leader Cllr David Bill said: “We voted against the in­creases.

“We took a view that at a time we are ask­ing our staff to be re­strained in their re­quests for an in­crease, it would be the wrong time to raise our own al­lowances.”

The coun­cil’s Uni­son rep­re­sen­ta­tives Robert Vaughan has writ­ten to Cllr Hall about the in­crease.

He said: “UNI­SON mem­ber­ship is ab­so­lutely as­ton­ished that this pro­posal for up to 30 per cent in­crease over two years could even be tabled.

“This of course is af­ter huge in­creases awarded by your­selves in 2015, which were up to 50%.

“This was on the back of ar­gu­ments which in­cluded the need for ‘the go­ing rate for the job’ and the ‘need for equal­ity with other coun­cils’.

“How ironic that these same ar­gu­ments put for­ward by UNI­SON to seek de­cent pay for loyal Lo­cal Govern­ment em­ploy­ees are re­buffed year af­ter year, and on the grounds that they are un­af­ford­able in times of re­straint.”

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