Wokingham Liberal Democrats are astounded that, at the Wokingham Borough Council meeting last Thursday, the Conservatives on the Council voted against reducing the amount of extra money that councillors with special responsibilities are paid.
At the Council meeting, Prue Bray, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group, proposed that there should be a 5 per cent reduction in the so-called Special Responsibilities Allowance.
Cllr Bray said: ‘The Liberal Democrats proposed a five per cent reduction in the Special Responsibilities Allowance to demonstrate that we, as Councillors, are prepared to reduce the amount of money we receive, just as so many hard-working people across the Borough have had to do in the current economic climate.
‘I am extremely disappointed that the Conservatives failed to support the Liberal Democrat proposal. It shows a complete lack of understanding on their part about the economic hardship local people are facing in the world outside of the Council chamber. The Prime Minister and all his Ministers agreed to take a 5 per cent pay cut, yet the Conservatives locally refused to do likewise.’
Cllr Stephen Conway, Liberal Democrat councillor for Twyford ward, said: ‘We were not proposing something that would only have affected Conservative councillors. The proposal to reduce the Special Responsibilities Allowance would have affected nearly 30 per cent of the Liberal Democrat councillor group too.
‘We hope that the Conservatives will reflect upon their decision and will consider taking a reduction in the future. However, at the moment, it seems that the Conservatives in Wokingham, unlike those in Westminster, are the same as they have ever been.’
The Liberal Democrat Councillors who receive the Special Responsibilities Allowance will be taking the five per cent reduction that they proposed, and have called upon the Conservatives counterparts to do likewise.