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Council allowances hike to £7k

January 30, 2008 9:45 AM
By Gareth McPherson in Maidenhead Advertiser On-line

Tempers flared and party battle lines were drawn as councillors voted for their own huge cash increases last night.

Councillors at the Royal Borough will receive a massive allowances boost of more than 90 per cent from April this year after a majority of members agreed with an Independent Remuneration Panel's (IRP) recommendations to increase levels.

Their basic allowance will shoot up from £3,750 a year to £7,160 - a hike one councillor described as 'grotesque'.

Other allowance provisions, relating to mileage and computer expenses, were also approved after 35 councillors voted in the panel's findings, with 13 others against and three who abstained, at the special meeting.

Cllr David Burbage (Con, Bray), leader of the council, said the allowances system for councillors was 'reasonable and proportionate' and the new level would put Royal Borough allowances in line with other unitary authorities.

But opposition councillors say there will be an inevitable squeeze on the council's budget as the total allowance fund will now balloon from nearly £330,000 to £610,000 a year.

*The appointment of the new chief executive of the Royal Borough was formally approved at the meeting on Tuesday night (January 29). Councillors voted Ian Trenholm in unanimously after an employment panel handed him the top borough job.

[Lib Dem note: The Conservatives 91% allowance rise was unanimously opposed by Liberal Democrat Councillors]