South Yorkshire councillors buck trend and freeze allowances

endaw, COUNCIL CHAMBER The Council Chamber, Sheffield Town Hall, at the start of the last session before the change of structure.

endaw, COUNCIL CHAMBER The Council Chamber, Sheffield Town Hall, at the start of the last session before the change of structure.

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COUNCILLORS at authorities around South Yorkshire are showing solidarity with public workers by ignoring calls to award themselves increases in allowances.

Some councils elsewhere around the country have awarded members with huge allowance rises.

The biggest increase was in Boston, Lincolnshire, where the payments went up by 28 per cent in the 2011/12 financial year.

But allowances were frozen in Sheffield and Barnsley during the same year.

Rotherham Council cut its allowances by 1.2 per cent in 2011/12.

All three councils have frozen allowances during the current year.

The stance was backed by trade unions.

Rod Padley, convenor for Unison at Sheffield Town Hall, said: “There are some hard-working councillors in Sheffield who, if anything, deserve more money.

“All I can do is thank them on behalf of our members who are not getting pay rises, for feeling so committed that they would be willing to suffer as much as the workers as the cost of everyday living goes up.”

Sheffield’s 84 councillors receive a basic allowance of £11,742.45, which has been unchanged for the last three years, despite independent advice recommending an increase.

The leader, cabinet members and other councillors with special responsibilities receive additional payments, which have also been frozen.

Coun Bryan Lodge, member for finance, said: “We took a decision some time ago that allowances should be linked to employees’ pay and as that has been frozen, so have allowances.

“We believe it would be inappropriate to up allowances when our employees are not receiving a pay rise.

Rotherham Council pays its councillors a basic annual allowance of £12,130.

A spokesman for the authority said the overall bill, which included extra allowances for special responsibilities, was reduced 1.2 per cent last year to £1,112,003, from £1,125,555 in 2010/11.

Meanwhile, Barnsley has also frozen allowances in ‘solidarity’ with staff.

The big rises in allowances at other councils were condemned as ‘completely unjustifiable’ by the Tax Payers’ Alliance campaign group.