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Freeze on councillors allowances in Worcester
COUNCILLORS allowances have been frozen in Worcester for the fourth year in a row.
During a vote at Worcester City Council to set the 2014/15 budget, the chance to grab inflation-busting hikes was unanimously rejected.
Councillors said it was "clearly not right" to accept rises when spending was being cut by nearly £1 million.
The massive hike was recommended by an outside body, called the Independent Remuneration Panel, as well as a 22 per cent rise for deputy leader Councillor Geoff Williams.
A suggestion from the panel that basic allowances, currently set at £3,990, should rise five per cent was also thrown out.
Cllr Simon Geraghty, Tory group leader, said: "This is one of those issues where there is no political divide.
"It's been a number of years since we last accepted a rise, in the current circumstances I just don't think it's right to get one."
Some other councillors said they had concerns about the allowances falling too low.
Councillor David Tibbutt said: "Sooner or later you've got to make a decision about this.
"There is a lot of misunderstanding from people in the street, they think we have bonuses, expenses accounts, pensions."
Councillor Chris Mitchell added: "People should also be aware that we're taxed on the allowances we get - once you take that out the end amount is almost insignificant.
"Sooner or later we will have to bite the bullet to attract the people we're looking for."
The last time the payments went up was in 2010, when the basic rates increased six per cent.
The 2014/15 budget was approved in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and included nearly £1 million of spending reductions.
It was voted through by Labour with support from the Liberal Democrats, but the opposition Conservatives and Green Councillor Neil Laurenson voted against.
Cllr Laurenson, who did back an allowance freeze, said: "I think the council could have been a bit more courageous in asking people what they think about paying more council tax for services."
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