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Councillors allowances to be frozen in Worcestershire
COUNCILLORS allowances are going to be frozen in Worcestershire for the sixth year in a row - as a £2.6 million 'black hole' was filled.
Your Worcester News can reveal how the payments, which start at £9,019 and rise to £40,094 for leader Councillor Adrian Hardman, will stay the same.
The move comes after the cash-strapped county council revealed a surprise cash boost - meaning a worrying 'black hole' has been closed.
Due to more houses being built across Worcestershire, the council now says it expects to collect £4.7 million more council tax than originally expected in 2014/15.
It means a black hole of £2.6 million has been closed, with no more cuts needed to be drawn up next year on top of the £24.9 million already identified.
Due to the steadily improving economy the construction industry is picking up again in Worcestershire, and many of the homes come under band D council tax rates.
The stance on councillors allowances and the cash boost from new homes have both been revealed in a report due to be voted on by full council this coming Thursday.
It comes after your Worcester News revealed yesterday how £1.1 million has been found to save some bus routes across Worcestershire.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure said: "We've been able to moderate some of our proposals due to the growth in the economy.
"But the reform must continue otherwise this council will end up in serious trouble - you don't have to look too far to see other councils already in a very difficult situation."
Cllr Hardman said: "We're in an improving position and we want to ensure we can carry on investing in the priorities for Worcestershire."
Cllr Hardman's payments include his basic £9,019 rate, and a £31,074 top-up for being the leader.
Members of his ruling cabinet also get the basic rate, and a special responsibility add-on worth up to £16,499.
All 57 politicians at County Hall cost taxpayers around £860,000 a year when including expenses.
The last rise was 2008, when rates went up 2.5 per cent.
The extra money from the homes has given the authority some more flexibility around its budget, which is under severe pressure.
The report also says the savings requirement between now and 2018 has been reduced slightly, from £103 million to £99 million.
Just under £60 million of those cuts have already been identified, with at least 600 job losses on the cards.
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