Members vote to keep pay

sp91095 Bolsover Council Expenses Protest. L-R, Duncan Kerr, Roger Simpson, Julie Kerr.
sp91095 Bolsover Council Expenses Protest. L-R, Duncan Kerr, Roger Simpson, Julie Kerr.

COUNCILLORS have voted to retain their allowances – the highest in the country for comparable roles – despite a review recommending they be slashed by half.

An independent remuneration panel suggested that Bolsover District Council cut the £10,000 annual allowance paid to members, to bring it in line with the average of £5,354 across similar shire authorities.

But at a meeting of the council, members voted against the recommendations.

The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Alan Tomlinson, described the panel’s decision-making as “flawed” and proposed the £10,047 basic allowance be frozen for four years.

He said: “I really do feel that they devalue the role of the scrutiny members in this. They have no consideration for the amount of time and effort that is put in.”

All but one of the councillors present voted to freeze the remuneration, with Cllr Duncan Kerr coming under fire for backing the panel.

The lone Green Party councillor, who was voted to represent Whitwell in April’s elections, had distributed material to his constituents calling Bolsover a “rotten borough” after he revealed almost 20% of council tax is spent on allowances and administration costs to run the council.

He said: “We have the highest level of all allowances and we are proposing not to take one penny off that? You are saying you deserve more than any council in Derbyshire. Do we really think that’s what the public would expect of us?”

But furious councillors hit back at the remarks. Cllr Tomlinson, said: “To call this a rotten borough, it beggars belief.

“What people are most interested in is what it costs to run this council. I can tell you that in 2011 - 2012 it cost us £108 a year per person, and that’s the second lowest in the whole of Derbyshire.”

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