How we use Cookies

Fury as Hyndburn councillors fight plan to cut their pay by 10 per cent

Proposals have been put forward to slash councillors’ allowances in the face of 15 per cent cuts to the council budget. Council bosses have also revealed some staff will face voluntary redundancies this year.

Town Hall bosses are set to block plans to reduce their pay by ten per cent.

Proposals have been put forward to slash councillors’ allowances in the face of 15 per cent cuts to the council budget.

Council bosses have also revealed some staff will face voluntary redundancies this year.

Independent councillors have tabled a motion calling on their council colleagues to cut their pay as a way of showing solidarity with tax payer.

The leader of both the Conservative and Labour groups on the council say elected members will be given a free vote on the issue but say they oppose the plans.

The move has been met with anger by many and comes as it was revealed that a scheme providing residents with £1 trips to the seaside could be scrapped to save money.

Council bosses have allocated cash from this years budget to fund the trips this summer which were enjoyed by around 2,700 people last year. However, after being reviewed at a council overview and scrutiny committee meeting, the service could be cancelled if further savings are necessary. Last month the council announced deep cuts and savings of £2.1 million as part of its budget plans.

Independent Coun Nick Collingridge said the council faces a ‘very difficult year’ and believes councillors should ‘take the lead’ by agreeing to the cut.

He said: "We feel this is the way to go and at the end of the day we all have to work together and show solidarity.

"Workers have had a pay freeze for the past three years and there has been a lot of reductions in front line services and quite a few redundancies.

"We feel that council staff have taken a hammering and we are asking them to job share to save any more cuts in jobs.

"We want this cut done to be in line with the other workers."

Last month council bosses unveiled deep cuts to community grants and council staffing levels to hit its £12.3 million budget.

All but two council departments have been tasked with finding 15 per cent savings, and the cuts will mean 30-40 fewer full-time posts at the town hall.

Leisure in Hyndburn’s grant was reduced by £136,500 following another restructure and axing ‘Big Society Pot’ grants brought in under the previous administration has saved £37,500.

All councillors receive a basic allowance to carry out their council duties.

Labour said their councillors have frozen their allowance since in 2009 with no councillor claiming more than £4,498. All other councillors are currently entitled to claim up to £4,709.

Council leader Miles Parkinson said the allowance freeze will continue into this year and now equates to more than a 10 per cent cut.

He added: "If they (Independents) will agree to take a 10 per cent reduction then that is fine as that will bring them down to our level.

"I will be looking closely as to whether they go into the council offices and sign the reduction after the local elections."

But when the Observer took to the streets it found the majority of people were in favour of cutting allowances.

Annmarie Goodwin, 50, from Accrington, said: "The way society is with the credit crunch at the moment some things should be cut down.

"Their wages should be cut down to let other services carry on."

Maureen Hargreaves, a long standing market trader in Accrington, added: "If they don’t take a pay cut themselves then it is totally out of order.

"They don’t seem to live on the same planet as we do."

Tory councillor Peter Britcliffe said councillors should be free to make their own decision.

He said: "All councillors are free to take reductions in their expenses and it should be left to the individual councillor to decide.

"In many cases we are not talking about a huge amount of money and a cut would hit councillors with the lowest allowances hardest.

"I think councillors have shown restraint for a good number of years now and it is right and proper that they should do.

"Councillors will be free to vote how they want. I imagine most councillors will vote against this."

 

Journalists

Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Crime
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Reporter
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist