LANCASHIRE’S county councillors are now charging the taxpayer more than £1.2m a year to run the authority following a new cost of living increase which came in last week.
Members have voted themselves a 2.2 per cent rise in allowances, costing County Hall an extra £26,894 during the new financial year 2015/16.
And that does not include travelling expenses and overnight accommodation while away on council business.
The new rates, which match the pay increase given to LCC staff this year, were narrowly voted through by the full council 39-31 with six abstentions.
Tory opposition leader Coun Geoff Driver, whose own allowances will rise almost £600, called for a freeze in the current climate facing the county council. He said members had agreed to increase council tax by almost two per cent this year and were due to make “savage” cuts to services. So an increase in allowances was “unjustified in the present financial circumstances.”
But Labour’s deputy leader Coun David Borrow said that while politicians did not like voting on their own pay and conditions, it was important to keep the link with staff pay, or allowances would fall so far behind that only the wealthy could afford to do the job.
Figures released by County Hall show each of the 84 members of the council will now get a basic allowance of £10,362, totalling £870,408.
On top of that members with special responsibility like party leaders, cabinet members, chairs and deputy chairs get additional sums – costing an extra £352,052.
Those allowances range from £29,590 for council leader Jennifer Mein, £20,713 for deputy Borrow, £16,274 for Coun Driver and £16,274 each for six cabinet members.