Tories award council leader 40% pay rise while cutting services

Tory councillors in North Hertfordshire have voted for bumper £325,000 allowances while cutting services and forcing some staff onto a pay freeze. Conservative Lynda Needham will see her leader’s package jump more than 40%, bringing her total pay to £17,100 – exclusing other expenses.

While cuts will see £1.5m axed from public services in the district, the decision amounts to a total increase of more than £65,760 for councillors: more than four times the salary of some jobs currently on offer with the authority. The level of increase was met with vocal opposition from both Labour and Liberal Democrats groups.

The move also sees Tories cooking the books. Documents seen by Scrapbook show the increase has been classified as “investment” to avoid going over their own budget cap:

Adding to the base budget would increase the budget gap currently identified in the Medium Term Financial Strategy by this amount and require additional efficiencies tobe made. This increase could, however, be treated as an investment decision and Members will recall that there is an allowance of £250,000 in the existing MTFS to accommodate such increases in expenditure.

Official council papers also note: “It is recognised, that in light of the current difficult financial position, there is a risk that there will be negative comments from press and public on any increase in Member’s allowances.”

No sh*t, Sherlock!

3 Comments

  1. Polittiscribe
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    £17,100 pay sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  2. Posted November 18, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Is a 20% pay rise reasonable in the current climate (40% for the leader)?

    Liberal Democrat Bearton Ward Councillor Lisa Courts said, “With the council implementing massive cuts across all services I find this self-centred pay-rise totally unacceptable. As our residents make tough financial sacrifices during these uncertain economic times, I would have hoped Tory councilors would have recognised this and decided to vote with Lib-Dem councillors to postpone any pay increase.

  3. Robert
    Posted November 19, 2010 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Lisa Courts should take it up with Nick Clegg.

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