Mem­bers of district au­thor­ity crit­i­cised for vot­ing in favour of a 10% in­crease in their al­lowance

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by JAS­MINE RAPSON Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL Tory coun­cil­lors have voted to give them­selves a 10% pay rise - prompt­ing one out­raged politi­cian to com­pare his col­leagues to pigs.

South Bucks district coun­cil­lors have been ac­cused of “lin­ing their own pock­ets” af­ter agree­ing to in­crease their own pay at a full coun­cil meet­ing on Tues­day July 17.

Ques­tions were also raised over why mem­bers are re­ceiv­ing a “huge” pay rise when coun­cil em­ploy­ees have pre­vi­ously been told their wage in­creases must be capped at two per cent.

The ba­sic al­lowance paid to South Bucks district coun­cil­lors will now take £134,400 out of the public purse in 2018/19 - a 10% in­crease from the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year.

Ex­tra cash paid to mem­bers who hold a higher cabi­net or com­mit­tee po­si­tion, known as the spe­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity al­lowance, will in­crease by 18% – now cost­ing the tax­payer £ £69,024.

The in­creases were pro­posed by an in­de­pen­dent panel and will bring the coun­cil­lors’ al­lowances in line with those paid to Chiltern District mem­bers.

Mem­bers’ al­lowances were last re­viewed in 2009, ac­cord­ing to leader of SBDC, coun­cil­lor Nick Nay­lor.

The move sparked out­rage among a mi­nor­ity of politi­cians, with coun­cil­lor for Den­ham, Roger Reed, brand­ing the pro­posal “self-cen­tred”.

He said: “The ex­ec­u­tives who are rec­om­mend­ing this to us are the very same ex­ec­u­tives who have been telling our of­fi­cers for the last two or three years two per cent is the ab­so­lute max­i­mum we can af­ford.

“For of­fi­cers it is two per cent, for mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive it is 25%. Some peo­ple, chair­man, know no shame.”

Cllr Barry Hard­ing, who also rep­re­sents Den­ham, said slammed the “per­verse” pay rises, adding “as a re­tired pig farmer I recog­nise heads in a trough”.

Deputy leader, Cllr John Read, will re­ceive a stag­ger­ing 45 per in­crease in his spe­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity al­lowance - an ex­tra £2,166 - as well as the 10% in­crease in his ba­sic al­lowance.

Cllr Nay­lor, who will re­ceive an ex­tra £3,460, ac­cused the coun­cil­lors of mak­ing com­ments “for the ben­e­fit of the press”, stat­ing the ar­gu­ment “is not about pay rises, but mem­ber al­lowances”.

He added that some em­ployee roles were re­viewed af­ter SBDC and Chiltern District Coun­cil merged ser­vices and a num­ber of pay rises were of­fered.

He said: “If I could com­ment about some of the sound­bites that have been thrown out for the ben­e­fit of the press tonight - this is not about pay rises, this is about mem­ber al­lowances and the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that they dis­charge.

“Those of­fi­cers that I talk to can’t be­lieve we put as much time in as we do, with good hu­mour and good grace, for the al­lowances that we re­ceive.

“And my im­pres­sion cer­tainly amongst those of­fi­cers that I spoke to are ab­so­lutely okay with the re­port that has been pub­lished.”

Cllr Guy Hol­lis called for a recorded vote, with 12 coun­cil­lors vot­ing for the al­lowance in­crease, five ab­stain­ing and three vot­ing against.

Cllr Nick Nay­lor

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