At last night’s Wokingham Borough council meeting at Shute End, Tory councillors unanimously voted themselves a massive 9% increase in allowances and extra opportunities to claim expenses.
Councillors Stephen Conway (Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem Councillor Group and councillor of Twyford ward) said, “The Lib Dems all voted against any increase. We believe that in the current economic climate it is quite wrong to award ourselves a pay rise. Imagine how this looks to some of our residents who are in danger of losing their jobs and, in some cases, their homes”.
An independent panel reviews allowances and expenses for councillors, but it is the councillors themselves who decide whether to accept the panel’s recommendations or not.
Stephen Conway added, “Councillors should not be seriously out of pocket for the costs that they necessarily incur. We want a good mix of councillors to represent residents, and we don’t want people to be put off because they can’t afford it. But we have to strike the right balance, and I strongly believe that awarding ourselves a 9% increase at this time is completely wrong.”