St Albans councillors agree allowances rise
A TWO per cent hike in councillors allowances has been agreed despite a bid to keep them frozen at the current rate. The increase was agreed at last week s meeting of St Albans District Council at which councillors voted for no increase in the size of th
A TWO per cent hike in councillors' allowances has been agreed despite a bid to keep them frozen at the current rate.
The increase was agreed at last week's meeting of St Albans District Council at which councillors voted for no increase in the size of the district council's share of the overall council tax bill.
Conservative and Labour councillors called for the two per cent increase, proposed by an independent panel, to be abandoned in light of the current economic situation.
But the ruling LibDem group voted for the increase which will push the basic allowance for members up to �5,210 from �5,110. It will bring the total cost in the next financial year up to �466,525. Tory group leader, Cllr Julian Daly, called for the allowances to be pegged this year, calling on the council to set a positive example in difficult and uncertain times.
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But the council's resources portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Oxley, said after the meeting that the rise reflected fluctuating inflation rates in the past year which had been as high as five per cent.
He pointed out that some councillors struggled to find the money to carry out the work they were required to do and in democratic terms it enabled a whole range of people to stand as councillors.
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He added: "The amount of time we spend involved in council work is increasing all the time.