South Kesteven District Councillors have voted in favour of a basic allowance increase of 16.5 per cent this afternoon to reflect their greater responsibilities and commitments, despite strong opposition from fellow councillors.
At the meeting of the full council, Coun Tracey Forman said she did not think that an increase was justified at a time of public austerity.
Addressing her fellow councillors at the full council chamber meeting this afternoon, she said: “Now is not the time to increase our allowances at a time of public sector cuts. How can we simply justify it?”
Coun Charmaine Morgan said: “We need to think about the people we represent within our community. It is not about the money but the principle. We need to be able to reflect what our community is going through.”
The current basic allowance for a councillor is £4,641 per annum. Following the reccommendation of an independent survey, it will be increased to £5407 per annum.
The last allowance increase was eight years ago.
Leader of SKDC Coun Matthew Lee stated that the report is a fair reflection of the role of a councillor today. He said: “It is a re-evaluation of our roles and takes into account the work we do as councillors. There is never going to be a good time to deal with these kind of matters but on balance, these changes are acceptable.”
Thirty councillors voted for the allowance increase in the recorded vote, nine voted against with six councillors choosing to abstain.