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Councillors allowances frozen in Worcester
COUNCILLORS’ allowances have been frozen in Worcester - with the city’s leader rejecting the chance to get a 26 per cent pay rise.
Politicians of all colours agreed it would be the “wrong time” to raise the handouts while cutting jobs and freezing pay for staff.
During a full council meeting at the Guildhall, leader Coun Simon Geraghty said the pressure on the authority was so great it would be folly to increase allowances.
As your Worcester News first revealed last Saturday, an independent panel recommended rates go up 5.3 per cent for backbenchers, to £4,200 a year.
The panel also suggested Coun Geraghty’s “special responsibility allowance” could rise 26 per cent to £12,600, and that his deputy Coun Marc Bayliss’ top-up increase 22 per cent to £7,350.
But the council had no obligation to take it on board, and has now voted unanimously to ignore it.
Coun Geraghty said: “In light of the pressures on the organisation and the staff, who are not getting an increase in pay, it would not be the right time to do this.
“They should remain frozen for all members so the allowances stay exactly the same as they are now.”
Councillors’ allowances in Worcester have been frozen for the last three years - the last time they went up was six per cent in 2010.
At the time, the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) suggested they be raised by 12 per cent.
The latest IRP report said expectations on the leadership are constantly increasing and that the workload has been going up.
It also said the basic rates for councillors, which stands at £3,990, is slightly below what politicians can expect to get at other district town halls.
The city council is slashing 26 jobs by 2015.
Last week Worcestershire County Council also agreed a freeze for 2013/14.
It came despite Councillor Richard Udall, the deputy leader of County Hall’s Labour group, saying it needs to be increased to avoid local government becoming a “retirement club”.