Cut to councillors’ allowances bid scuppered

NILALC100809B1 - Ilkeston Town Hall
NILALC100809B1 - Ilkeston Town Hall

A Labour bid to cut councillors’ allowances and save taxpayers nearly £20,000 a year, has been avoided by leading members.

Instead the 51-member Erewash authority voted to keep basic allowances for all councillors at the current figure of £3,848 a year.

Opposition councillor Louis Booth suggested a 20 per cent cut in the ‘special responsibility allowances’ for key Conservatives on the borough council.

He said the number of committee meetings had been reduced and that leading councillors had less to do.

Cllr Booth told them: “People out there are suffering hardship and you should be leading by example.”

He was backed by Cllr Clare Neill, who told the Tories: “It gives you the opportunity to provide some leadership.”

Council leader Cllr Chris Corbett said he received lower allowances than former Labour boss Cyril Stevens did several years ago.

But Cllr Alex Phillips, the current Labour opposition leader, claimed the leadership was motivated by ‘greed’ and used Prime Minister David Cameron’s phrase ‘we are all in this together’.

However Conservative deputy leader Carol Hart told the December meeting last night (Friday): “If only some of those people knew what work there is in a lead member’s job and knew what we put up with.”

The debate was sparked by the findings of an independent panel which looked at councillors’ allowances and expenses they can claim. It described the £3,848 basic allowance as ‘a fair level and affordable in stringent financial times’.

In a table of figures for the civic year which ended in March, Cllr Corbett received £17,012, the highest total.

Leisure spokesman Cllr Michael Wallis got £11,194, while the biggest Labour recipient was former opposition leader Howard Griffiths with £9,028.