Councillors in line for allowance rise

A TOWN’S councillors have been told they can increase their allowance payments.

Kettering Council’s executive committee this week approved allowance recommendations put forward by an independent panel.

The local authority’s full council must approve the plans later this month, but if all the recommendations are adopted, then basic allowances will go up five per cent from £4,856 to £5,236.

Kettering Council announced a zero increase in council tax, and has pledged to keep frontline services, but the allowance increases come at a time when council staff are subject to a public sector pay freeze.

Jonathan West, leader of the opposition Labour group, who is in line for a rise himself, said: “Some councillors give a lot of time to carry out their duties.

“But, if the public sector workers don’t expect a pay rise, the Labour party does not think councillors should get an increase at this time.”

The council leader will get a 10 per cent increase from £11,821 to £13,003, and the chairman of the planning committee will give a huge 100 per cent rise from £2,589 to £5,178.

The panel consisted of De Montfort University’s professor of local government, Steve Leach, Sue Watts from Northamptonshire Age UK, and James Wright, of Quality Solicitors Wilson Brown.

The mayor and members of the executive committee are also in line for an increase.

The only decrease is for the deputy leader of the council.

The allowances budget will go from £255,474 to £279,453.

Patricia Asbrey, of Broadway, Kettering, said: “When everyone is cutting back and for what they do, I think they are getting too much money.

“Years ago they did it for the love of it but a lot of them now are in it for the money.”

And Peter Brace, 75, of Carriage Drive, Kettering, said: “People aren’t getting a rise so why should councillors?”

But Clark Mitchell, 37, of Sycamore Close, Kettering, said: “I don’t see a problem with allowances if the councillor works hard.”

Paula Holmes, of Rushton Road, Desborough, said: “Councillors give up a lot of time but I can see when the rise might come as a shock.”

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Alison Wiley said:” It’s an honour to do this job but it’s not renumeratively rewarding. We hope to attract people to stand as councillors.”