£2,000 pay rise given away by city councillor

Dawn Sanchez and June Bull at St John's Church
Dawn Sanchez and June Bull at St John's Church
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A pay rise of nearly 27 per cent for Peterborough city councillors proved controversial when it was voted through last year, but one of the beneficiaries has announced that she is giving all of her £2,100 increase away.

Cllr June Bull is part of the Conservative group which voted through the increase in allowances which meant from April last year councillors receive at least £10,100 a year.

The broken stained glass window

The broken stained glass window

But the representative for Orton Longueville ward said she will not benefit personally from the top-up of her allowance as she is donating the extra money to her “spiritual home” of St John the Baptist church in Cathedral Square.

Cllr Bull has attended the church since 1980, co-wrote a booklet for its 600th anniversary in 2007 and continues to write historical pieces for its magazine. She said: “Our church is a registered charity and like most churches we are struggling to balance income against expenditure, so it seems sensible for me to donate my extra city councillor allowance (I don’t get paid any special allowances) to the church.

“I personally give a monthly donation of £120, as well as one-off payments throughout the year. I give my spare time to running and staffing the church’s café when organising and hosting various annual events.

“The church is a haven for those who want to come in and soak up its history or to have some quiet reflection in prayer, attend the services, lunchtime concerts and talks, or simply come and enjoy the company of others over some light refreshments.”

The broken stained glass window

The broken stained glass window

The pay rise, which cost the council an extra £186,000 a year, had been recommended by an independent panel after a seven year freeze in allowances. Special responsibility allowances - which go to councillors such as cabinet members and scrutiny committee chairs - also rose.

When the Peterborough Telegraph contacted all councillors in April none said they would return the extra money to the council. A few said they would donate the money to good causes or spend it on activities associated with their role.

The PT emailed all councillors again last week asking whether they had returned their increase or donated it. We will publish their responses next week.

Meanwhile, the church had one of its stained glass windows, which depicts the martyrdom of St Boniface, broken on the morning of Christmas Day.

The broken stained glass window

The broken stained glass window

Church vicar Rev Canon Ian Black said the most likely cause was a traffic cone being thrown around. He added: “We don’t know whether there was any intent to break or not - it looks like it was reckless rather than deliberate as such.”