Councillors to get second pay rise of the year after town hall vote

Councillors are to get their second pay rise of the year after an increase of two per cent was agreed – meaning the average financial reward is now more than £20,000.
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A meeting of the full council on Wednesday June 28 was also told the total annual bill for councillor allowances now added up to nearly £1m.

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Pay rise for Blackpool councillors following town hall vote.

The ruling Labour group voted in favour of the increase, while Conservative councillors voted against the move.

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Councillors' allowances are increasingCouncillors' allowances are increasing
Councillors' allowances are increasing

The two per cent rise was recommended by the Independent Remuneration Panel whose role is to determine the level of payments for elected members.

A four per cent increase was agreed in February this year, and the latest rise takes the basic allowance which all councillors can claim up to £11,317.

The council leader Coun Lynn Williams will receive £33,951, while cabinet members will be paid £15,277. As Coun Williams is also cabinet member for tourism, arts and culture, this takes her total remuneration to almost £50,000.

Conservative group leader Coun Paul Galley urged the recommended increase to be rejected because the council’s budget was already under pressure.

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He said councillors voting themselves a rise within two months of local elections meant “in terms of the optics to the people of Blackpool, they see that we have done very little.”

Coun Bradley Mitchell warned: “Anyone supporting another increase is clearly out of touch with the struggles of ordinary residents in Blackpool and the current cost of living crisis.”

He said the total cost of allowances was “approaching £1m a year” and added “average councillor allowances are now over £20,000 including additional responsibility”.

But Labour councillors said the allowances were a fair reflection of the hard work done by elected representatives.

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Coun Neil Brookes said: “People are giving up paid work to do this and they need to be remunerated.”

Coun Ivan Taylor said the allowances were needed to reward councillors “who work hard for the people of this town”, with the level set by the remuneration panel being “reasonable.”

He added: “I work with the leader every day, and I have never known anyone work as hard as she does.”

Following a recorded vote, 24 votes were cast in favour of the increase and 14 against with one abstention.