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Burnley councillors turn down extra £200
12:45pm Monday 28th October 2013 in Burnley
COUNCILLORS in Burnley have rejected calls for an extra £200 per year in allowances for ‘backbench’ members.
An independent watchdog recommended the expenses rise, as there had been no increase for the best part of a decade.
But the Labour-controlled authority voted to freeze allowances – with only the chairman and vice-chairman of a newly-constituted scrutiny committee receiving £4,300 and £1,350.
Coun Julie Cooper, Labour group leader, said: “It is totally unacceptable and inappropriate to accept a rise when so many people in our borough are struggling to make ends meet.”
Councillors also approved a move which will see the new system enforced for the next two financial years, rather than the us-ual 12 months.
But opposition councillors were uneasy that the role of ‘backbench’ was being undervalued.
Coun Margaret Lishman, Liberal Democrat group leader, said she had no desire to see the £188,670 expenses budget increase, but added: “There is an acknowledgement in the independent remuneration panel’s report that ordinary councillors have not had anything for a very long time.”
Coun Lishman also questioned the ‘very generous’ allowance for the new scr-utiny committee chairman.
Coun Mathew Isherwood, who represents Whittlefield with Ightenhill for the Conservatives, said that allowance rises should be index linked to those of public sector workers.
Brenda Rochester, chairman of the remuneration panel, had also recommended a £656 drop for the leader’s allowance, and a £66 drop for scrutiny and licensing chairmanships.
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