Tory Councillors on the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority voted themselves a massive 450% pay increase last week. The Fire Authority is made up of 24 councillors from Councils across Berkshire, a majority of whom are Conservatives, and oversees the running of the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, with the average councillor putting in about 12 days’ work a year. The Liberal Democrat councillors on the Fire Authority are led by Jeff Brooks, leader of the Lib Dem Councillor group on West Berks Council, and the deputy leader is Prue Bray, leader of the Lib Dem Councillor group on Wokingham Borough Council.
Councillor Jeff Brooks says, “The Tories voted for a massive hike in allowances from £400 a year to £1,800. On top of that they also voted extra pay for 12 members in the form of Special Responsibility Allowances –
Councillor Prue Bray says, “We were appalled at the greed of the Tories, especially at this time of recession, when residents of Berkshire are struggling to keep their jobs and their homes. The Lib Dems on the Fire Authority agree it was right for someone independent to review councillors’ pay, but we were disgusted when the Tories demanded the whole of this whopping increase was paid immediately instead of supporting our proposals to phase in the increases over a number of years.”
Councillor Brooks added, “The Fire Service’s finances are very stretched. They should be spending their budget on firefighters and equipment, not on greedy councillors.”