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Cornwall councillors vote themselves a hefty 20% pay rise
6:03pm Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in Cornwall
COUNCILLORS on Cornwall Council have voted to give themselves a 20 per cent rise in their basic allowances.
An original recommendation, drawn up by an independent remuneration committee, was that the allowance would rise from £12,148 to £16,400. However an amendment was put forward to see the rise limited to £14,600, an increase of over 20 per cent. In a recorded vote, the increase was passed by 42 votes to 29, with four abstentions.
The changes will see the total amount of the council’s budget spent on basic allowances rise by £301,596. It means councillors will now receive one of the highest basic allowances in the country.
The changes are set to come into effect after the next full council election is held next May.
Albert Lampey, chairman of the independent remuneration committee, told the council the figures had been drawn up to try to attract a wider range of society to become councillors.
Falmouth Boslowick councillor Mike Varney said he felt a pay rise was needed to attract more people into politics.
He said: “If I had my way, we would get rid of 60 members and give those left allowances of £35,000, and tell them they would have to be full-time councillors.”
Helston South and Porthleven councillor Andrew Wallis said: “If you take the headline figure of a 35 per cent increase, then yes, it is shocking.
“However, to put it in perspective, it works out per voter on the electoral role as around £5 per head.
“Who here would not be willing to pay £5 for democracy, I would pay it now.”
He added: “What we must do is look towards the next council, this is not for us, none of us are not guaranteed to be here next year.
“I live on my own, and have a dependent, and if I did not receive a special responsibility allowance, I would not be stood here today.”
Falmouth Arwenack councillor Steve Eva voted for the increase to £14,600, but said he would not take the extra allowance himself if elected next year.
Former cabinet member Steve Double told the meeting: “We are all aware of the state of public finances, we are making all sorts of changes to save money.
“With that background I do not see how we can vote in allowances that would amount to £500,000 on the council’s budget.”
A separate recommendation to see mileage allowance rise from 40p to 45p per mile was accepted by members.