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Cumbrian council leader's 37 per cent rise as jobs are cut

A Cumbrian council leader is getting a 37 per cent increase in his annual allowance.

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Councillors have agreed that the special-responsibility payment to Allerdale leader Alan Smith will rise from £15,299 to £21,000 in 2012-13. This is in addition to the basic allowance of £2,997 received by all councillors.

The uplift – recommended by an independent remuneration panel – was approved as the Council confirmed that it will axe three of its six senior managers in an effort to cut spending by £200,000.

Opposition Conservative councillors say the inflation-busting rise sends out the wrong message when the council is cutting jobs and services, and raising council tax.

The council meeting on Wednesday that approved the higher allowance also voted to raise Allerdale’s share of council tax by 2.9 per cent.

Conservative Tim Heslop, who was leader until Labour took control last year, said the rise would put Allerdale’s leader’s allowance close to that of Cumbria County Council leader Eddie Martin who gets £22,870.

The county council is a larger authority with a vastly bigger budget.

The leader of Copeland Council, Elaine Woodburn, receives £18,928 while Carlisle City Council leader Mike Mitchelson gets £17,407 – both less than Allerdale’s £21,000.

Allerdale’s leader’s allowance used to be higher still.

It was £30,598 in 2010-11 but Mr Heslop took only half of this.

The following year, the council formally halved the allowance to £15,299.

Labour’s Barbara Cannon, who is Mr Smith’s deputy, defended the move up to £21,000.

She said: “The job of leader is enormous and full time.

“It might be okay for someone who is retired and has a pension to do it [for £15,299] but it’s not all right for a working man or woman who has to give up their job to do it.”

Minutes of the panel show they felt that Allerdale’s leader’s allowance should be aligned with other Cumbrian local authorities, falling between the amounts paid by Copeland and Cumbria county councils.

Have your say

I like the comment "has to give up his job? if you choose to do the job & you cannot afford to DONT DO IT.I would also like to know where some of these councillors live? looking at the travelling expenses claims for some, I assume in another county.Too many councillors are treating this as a job, it is not, it is about putting something back into the community, but if you do not have the time or money, stay out.

Posted by michael owen on 14 March 2012 at 14:13

Council leader in NOT A JOB, its a community representatives role. You need no qualifications for the role and nor are you interviewed. Its a voluntary position.
A monkey could do it. In fact, someone dressed as a monkey in Hartlepool did do it!! Outrageous!!!!

Posted by Alison Sewell on 13 March 2012 at 23:08

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