Peterborough councillors' 30% rise recommendation slammed

A suggested 30% rise for Peterborough councillors' allowances is "not needed or deserved", it has been claimed.

The Independent Members' Remuneration Panel on the city council recommends a rise from £7,195 a year to £9,300.

Its report, to be discussed next week, said the city's "demographic and economic issues" gave members "additional responsibilities and time commitment" compared to other councils.

Independent councillor, John Fox, said: "Its an absolute sham and undeserved."

He added: "It's an honour and a privilege to be a councillor. You're elected to represent the people and that's what you should be doing."

'Legally obliged'

Nick Sandford, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council, agreed the increase "could be seen as over-the-top" but said change was needed.

"If we want to widen the range of people serving in local authorities, allowances need to be looked at, or we will end up harking back to the time when councillors were either independently wealthy, or retired."

He said members also needed to take into account the panel's conclusion that special responsibility payments should be reduced.

Mr Sandford said he would like to see the recommendations accepted, but "phased in over three or four years to reduce the impact".

In its report, the panel said "the basic allowance was considered to be low" compared to similar authorities.

However, it added: "Peterborough's dynamics made simple comparison with other unitary authorities very difficult and due account was taken of demographic and economic issues and the council's pro-active response to these factors."

Council leader, Conservative Marco Cereste, said: "We are legally obliged to have an Independent Members' Remuneration Panel and this report has been produced independently of the city council.

"It will now be up to all 57 council members to vote on the recommendations... bearing in mind the difficult financial climate we find ourselves in."

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