Crucial vote on £90k plan to raise councillors annual allowance by more than £1,000 (From Andover Advertiser)
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Crucial vote on £90k plan to raise councillors annual allowance by more than £1,000
MORE than £1,000 could be added to a councillor's annual allowance under options put forward by an independent panel.
The 60-strong Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will vote on whether to accept an increase tonight.
The plans would cost the taxpayer an estimated £89,700 a year if members accepted the £1,197 increase in the basic allowance, as well as raising special responsibility allowances.
Labour group councillors have said they will vote against raising allowances and tabled an amendment calling for members' allowances to be frozen at 2012-13 levels for the next three years.
Labour group leader Laura James said: “We should not be taking this allowance increase, not at this time, any increase would be wrong.”
Cllr Clive Sanders, leader of the majority Conservative party, said his group will have a free vote on the issue.
He added that he was “personally against raising the allowance” this year, but said he would not back Labour's amendment.
“It's a free vote as far as we are concerned, people can do what they like,” he said.
“My personal view is that if we are looking to save money we could save substantially more if we were reduced the number of councillors and move to four yearly elections.
“I will not be voting for an increase in expenses this year. I think it's wrong to tie us down or tie a future council down for two years afterwards.”
A review conducted in 2011 by the Independent Remuneration Panel - a four strong group made up of residents - calculated that the basic allowance for all councillors should be £7,800 from April 2013, an increase from the current amount of £6,603.
All additional 17 'special responsibility allowances' could also increase.
The council's top earner - the leader of the council - annual allowance would jump from £22,018 to £23,400 if the plans were accepted.
Last year, Council voted against an increase and maintained allowances at 2011-12 levels.