Perks for Peterborough city councillors are to be curbed as the authority tackles a £33 million deficit.
Proposals released on Friday for the 2020/21 budget have included numerous cuts to charities and dozens of redundancies, but elected members will also be affected as the council tightens its belt following huge cuts to its government funding.
Councillors currently receive a basic allowance of £10,100 , with many also receiving Special Responsibilty Allowances worth thousands of pounds either for being in the Cabinet, for chairing a scrutiny committee or for leading a political group.
In October 2016 councillors voted through a near 27 per cent increase in their basic allowance - plus a top of Special Responsibility Allowances - after a recommendation from an independent panel, costing the council £186,000 a year.
Newly proposed changes for the 60 councillors are:
• Increasing the amount paid for car parking from £44 a year for an annual pass to £110
• Ending a contract for ICT support and bringing it in-house, saving £45,000
• Ending payments for printer cartridges
• Funding mobile phones and laptops from each member’s allowance, saving £15,200 a year
• Reducing the budget for members to attend the annual Royal Garden Party from £1,500 to £500, which would cover the cost of train tickets only
• Reducing the budget to bestow civic gifts on visitors such as mayors from other countries, Aldermen, retired councillors and individuals within the community who go above and beyond by £2,500
• Reducing the budget for civic events such as Remembrance Sunday, Holocaust Memorial Day, Fly the Flag, Christmas wreath laying and Armed Forces Day by £7,000. The council said the existing budget was not being fully used
• Reducing the budget for the Mayor of Peterborough’s car by £800 in year one and £3,000 in the years thereafter by negotiating a new contract. In future years the mayor will drive an electric vehicle.
The measures are expected to save £76,000 in the first year, then £79,000 a year in subsequent years.
This is not the first time that councillors’ perks have been scaled back.
The Peterborough Telegraph previously revealed that members were receiving taxpayer funded buffets, including wine, after Full Council meetings at a cost of nearly £4,500. This was reduced by £3,000 a year following our coverage.
Residents can have their say on the budget proposals either at www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget, or by picking up a hard copy of the budget from the Town Hall in Bridge Street or at any city library from Monday.
A series of articles on the budget proposals will be published online at https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/politics over the weekend.
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