PAY RISE COUNCILLORS ‘KNOW NO SHAME’
Members of district authority criticised for voting in favour of a 10% increase in their allowance
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