Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting KS NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Allowances paid to Wyre Forest councillors frozen
ALLOWANCES paid to Wyre Forest district councillors will remain the same as last year but most will still be higher than recommended by an independent panel.
At a fiery meeting of full council last night, the majority of councillors voted to freeze basic allowances at £4,900 - £700 higher than the £4,200 recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP).
A “pick and mix” amendment from the Labour group - which would have seen some IRP recommendations accepted and others such as increasing the mileage allowance ignored - was voted down.
During an evening of political wrangling, Labour councillor Howard Martin described those pushing for a freeze as having their “snouts in the trough” but Conservative John Campion replied: “If [Labour] truly believed that they would not take [their full allowances], they would refuse them but they do not.”
Mr Campion said he believed the IRP report was “flawed”, did not represent the work elected members did and councillors had already taken steps to minimise costs.
Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) councillor Liz Davies said: “We have spent more time talking about what we pay ourselves than what the people out there need.
“I worked out I get paid £3 an hour for the work I do as a councillor.”
Conservative Nathan Desmond said freezing the allowances was the right thing to do and added: “We are in serious danger of making councillors exclusive to pensioners and those who want to top up their pension pots.”
Mr Campion’s allowance, as council leader, will remain at £12,250 despite the IRP recommending it should be £350 higher.
Deputy leader, Conservative Marcus Hart’s allowances, will stay at £9,188 - £1,838 higher than the IRP recommended figure.
The vote means allowances for Wyre Forest councillors are higher on average than those of councillors at all other lower-tier authorities in Worcestershire at £7,411. The second highest is Worcester City at £5,669.