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Labour Councillors demand increased allowances

August 3, 2009 2:15 PM

The Liberal Democrat Leader on Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Richard Stevens, has denounced the attempt by Labour Councillors to secure Special Responsibility Allowances as the local equivalent of the MPs' expenses scandal nationally.

The Full Council [29.07.09] received a report from the Independant Remuneration Panel which sits to decide upon Councillors allowances in general. Within the report, it was revealed that the Labour Opposition Leader, Cllr Birch had asked for a special additional allowance for Labour Councillors who were 'Shadowing' Conservative Cabinet Members. The Council was asked to approve a budgeting provision of £8,000 to cover this demand.

During the debate, Cllr Stevens accused Labour of trying to line their own pockets and said that they were 'completely out of touch with the wishes of local people'.

"Everybody knows that our Council is operating in an extremely challenging financial environment. During a reccession how could it be possibly be justified that Council Tax payers should be expected to meet this extra cost the likes of which, we are told, does not exsit in any other Local Authority?'

The Labour Party's amendment, moved by Cllr Birch, was eventually defeated by the combined votes of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.