Doncaster councillors clash after members vote through two per cent rise in allowances

Doncaster councillors have clashed after members voted through a recommended two per cent rise in allowances.

Monday, 21st May 2018, 10:57 am
Updated Monday, 21st May 2018, 11:01 am
Doncaster Council meeting of the full council. Picture: George Torr

The council's Independent Remuneration Panel suggested councillors award themselves a the rise in line with the same pay offer to local authority staff.

Despite the recommendation being passed, it will be up to individual members to take it or not.

The basic allowance, which each councillor is entitled to for attending meetings, ward work and to cover expenses, is set to rise from £12,363 to £12,609. Every councillor is entitled to a basic allowance and if they chair a committee or hold a cabinet position, they get that on top.

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Elected mayor Ros Jones is eligible for a salary of £50,436 plus her basic allowance, up from £49,454. However, she only accepted half of her salary during 2017/2018.

Deputy mayor Coun Glyn Jones' pay goes up from £15,454 to £15,762 plus basic allowance.

The councillors who chair the planning, audit and licensing committees will receive an additional £8,070 and £7,555 respectively for those positions.

In a meeting of the full council on Friday, Conservative councillor Jonathan Wood, representing the Sprotbrough ward, hit out at the recommendations and called for 'consistency' like previous years when members voted against allowance rises.

He said: "It seems to me quite obvious that the members opposite in the majority are going to turn around today and nod themselves an increase through.

"It maybe hidden in a cotton wool excuse associated with the fact that we've saved money because the overall burden is the same.

"In previous years we've chosen to ignore recommendations by the IRP and have decided - some of the statements we've heard before like 'in line with austerity' and 'standing shoulder to shoulder with the difficulties of working people and vulnerable families' and 'draconian cuts' and all these other buzz words that seem to be thrown around by the opposition.

"Like many here, I would be happy to put forward a motion that proposes that we maintain our existing allowances.

"As a Conservative and certainly as a member - and maybe I speak for other opposition members - it would be nice to think we could have some consistency and do what we've done in previous years but it wont be."

Coun Kevin Rodgers, Labour member for Roman Ridge ward, responding to Coun Wood said: "We have to shape to what resources we have and that means some of us have gone up, some of us have gone down. We have to acknowledge the hard work that colleagues in this chamber do.

"To frame the argument that some of us fill our pockets when some of us are actually seeing reductions is ridiculous. I think it's a very proportional report.

Labour Town ward councillor Dave Shaw, also responding to Coun Wood said: "I'm not sure in the past when we've voted not to take (an increase) in allowances that your side has always voted with us.

"It's down to the discretion of each councillor - I think it might be a matter of record and be interesting to see how many councillors in the past have actually taken an allowance when the chamber voted not to."