This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 10/07/2018.
Croydon Council members make ‘tough decision’ in voting for rise in allowances
Croydon’s Labour council voted in favour of pay rises.
A majority of Croydon Council members voted in favour of rising allowances, in what has been labelled as a “tough decision”.
Members who voted against the increases said those who did “only care about their own bank balances”.
But council leader Tony Newman said the rise in allowances are “modest”.
The decision on annual allowances was made at a meeting of the full council on Monday evening (July 9).
Councillors were asked to support recommendations to boost the pay of the head of planning, health and social care, and the memberships of the leading cabinet members by thousands of pounds a year.
Those councillors who do not hold any special position at the authority will also get a 2% boost in allowances they can claim.
The overall added cost to the council budget for the allowances proposed would be £24,000.
Council leader Tony Newman said: “Always a tough decision, but with no increase in the last 10 years we have recommended a modest increase that still falls well below anything recommended in the last independent report.
“Total cost for all 70 councillors this year is £24,000 – 2% for backbenchers 4.4% for front bench.”
In a huge jump the chair of the health and wellbeing board will get an allowance of £33,000, up from £24,000.
Another large increase would see the chair of the scrutiny committee get an increase in special responsibility allowance from £24,000 to £30,000
Tony Newman, as leader of the council, would receive a more modest boost in his allowance from around £42,000 to £44,000.
Conservative Croydon councillors did not vote with the Labour majority to support the increase and have slammed the move.
Councillor Tim Pollard said: “Since 2014 Labour have increased Council Tax by a staggering 17 per cent, and now we can see why.
“They repeatedly claim they don’t have enough money for public services, and yet they’ve managed to find hundreds of thousands of pounds to line their pockets.
“The people of Croydon aren’t stupid, and Labour’s arrogance is truly astounding.
“At a time when public finances are stretched and they’re failing in their most basic duty of care to our residents, it’s clear they only care about their own bank balances.”