Councillors agree allowance freeze

Cllr Marco Cereste
Cllr Marco Cereste
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Thursday, 9.40am: City councillors voted to refuse an increase in allowances at a meeting at Peterborough Town Hall last night (30 January).

Proposals for a change in the money received by councillors included a rise in the annual basic allowance, which is received by all councillors, from £7165.95 to £9300 per year.

The report was made by the Independent Members’ Allowances Panel, and also included changes to the Special Responsibility Allowances received by some councillors.

Councillors put a number of proposals forward at the meeting, but following a vote it was decided to freeze the allowances for the next year.

Councillor Marco Cereste, leader of the council, said decision would mean a saving of about £30,000 if budget proposals - which will be decided at the next full council meeting in March - are given the go ahead.

The savings would be made because Neighbourhood Committees would be scrapped. Chairmen of the committees currently receive £7,130.12

He said: “ The report highlights the need to remunerate councillors for the hard work they do for the community.

“However, in these really difficult times it would not be right of me to move the recommendation of the report.

“The motion is that we leave things as they are.

“The budget proposals will mean a £21,000 saving, and there are councillors who do not claim their Special Responsibility Allowance, which means the council will save around £30,000.”

Cllr Nick Sandford, leader of the Peterborough Liberal Democrats, said the rise in basic allowance suggested should be given the go ahead, but phased in over the next five years,

He said: “This is an independent report, and we should accept the proposals.

“We should bring in the reduction in Special Responsibility Allowance now, and increase the basic allowance over time.
“We need to be able to attract new councillors, and this will help.”

A vote for Cllr Cereste’s original motion was passed with 30 councillors voting for the proposals, 11 against, while four abstained.

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