A lack of money is stopping people from wanting to become city councillors, it has been claimed.
Peterborough city councillors will this evening (Wednesday, October 12) decide whether to give themselves a pay rise which would cost the cash-strapped authority an additional £186,000 per year.
A panel independent of the council has recommended that councillors have their annual basic allowances boosted by more than £2,000, pushing the figure to £10,100.
Councillors have rejected the last three offers of a pay rise and have had their allowance frozen since 2009, but they claim it is a struggle to recruit new members on their annual sum of £7,962 and that they work at least 20 hours a week as a councillor.
Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Nick Sandford said his party’s seven councillors would walk out of the meeting when the decision is made.
But he added: “We think we should have a situation where we have an independent panel report and the council has to follow it.
“Personally, I think the panel made quite a decent case. You get a situation where large sections of the population can’t afford to be local councillors.”
Council leader and Conservative group leader Cllr John Holdich said he would not vote for the current proposals, which bump his salary from £21,497.85 to £30,300.
He added: “There’s a case for lifting the basic allowance. But what is being proposed is too much.”
Cllr Chris Ash, group leader of the Peterborough Independent Forum, wants the increase in allowances to be no higher than inflation or the salary increase council officers receive.
He said this would “not give press and public the idea that we are there purely for our own benefit.”
Werrington First group leader Cllr John Fox said he would not vote for the current proposals, as have the Labour and UKIP groups.