Councillors say they will show how they “stand shoulder to shoulder” with workers by accepting a rise in their allowance.
A motion proposing councillors to not pick up a 2.2 per cent rise was defeated in a full meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council.
The proposal was signed by independent members Jonathan Brash, Paul Thompson and Pamela Hargreaves and Putting Hartlepool First’s David Riddle and Geoff Lilley.
But the suggestion their acceptance of the funds would be “ill-judged and wrong” at a time when many are seeing their wages frozen and slashed was shunned in a vote.
Several in favour of leaving the allowance at £5,825, rather than the increased amount of £5,953, said they have contacted the council’s finance department to say they do not want to be given the extra cash.
Councillor Brash said:
“I don’t disagree with the pay increase for our staff, it’s a well deserved 2.2 per cent. In relation to cuts, our staff have suffered in recent years.
“It’s wrong to even contemplate a rise in our pay at a time when people are suffering in a cost of living crisis.”
Coun Thompson reiterated his view it would be “abhorrent” to be given the additional money.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, a Labour member, said some should be “ashamed” of their low attendance level at meetings, as did Conservative Brenda Loynes.
She said of the increase:
“It’s £10 a month, £7.50 after tax, it’s not a fortune.”
Labour’s Alan Clark, who is a shop steward, said he was among those who believed the rise showed he “stood shoulder to shoulder with my workers”.
Coun Akers-Belcher said no rise had been given to members on two previous occasions in line with a freeze on workers’ pay.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 09 Feb 2015
Hartlepool councillors are poised to reject the chance of a controversial personal cash boost.
A review carried out by the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP) has recommended that Hartlepool councillors should have their basic allowances increased by £250 from £5,767 to £6,017, with further annual increases of £250 in April 2014 and April 2015.
The move sparked anger and calls have been made for the increase to be flatly refused in light of pay freezes which are in place elsewhere in the public sector.
The Hartlepool Mail attempted to contact each of the 33 councillors to ask how they planned to vote ahead of the full council meeting, which takes place at 7pm tomorrow.
Shortly after news of Mail’s survey leaked out, the ruling Labour group moved quickly to issue a statement saying all of its 19 members would vote against the proposal.
The statement from Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher read: “Hartlepool Labour Group will always support our staff at the council as they are the cornerstone of our success. This being the case we shall be reaffirming the principle of our resolution last year (April 11) whereby elected members shall only receive an increase in their basic allowance in-line with that awarded to our staff, as and when their increase is confirmed by Government.
“The basic allowance is paid to fulfil the duties associated with the role of elected members. The Labour Group has accepted our full responsibility and would therefore suggest all opposition councillors fulfil their responsibilities too and fill the vacant positions on committees in line with their allocation rather than avoiding their responsibilities.”
Conservative leader Ray Martin-Wells also said he would register a ‘no’ vote, as did his party colleague Brenda Loynes, while Putting Hartlepool First leader Keith Dawkins and fellow members Geoff Lilley and Kelly Atkinson all said they would also vote against a rise.
PHF member David Riddle, who wrote to all councillors asking them to reject the plan, was not available for comment though has previously made it public knowledge that he is against the move.
UKIP representative George Springer said he was not prepared to tell the Mail how he planned to vote ahead of the meeting, while the council’s other UKIP councillor, Tom Hird, said he planned to abstain.
Independent councillors Jonathan Brash, Pamela Hargreaves and Paul Thompson are all opposed to any pay hike and have pledged to vote against it, though John Lauderdale opted not to make his intentions public knowledge until he is asked for his vote at the meeting.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 02 July 2014