Royal Borough agrees to increase councillors' allowances budget by more than £40,000

Royal Borough agrees to increase councillors' allowances budget by more than £40,000

David Lee

The sole remaining Liberal Democrat councillor in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has warned his Conservative counterparts about the message they are giving out to the public after they voted to increase councillors’ allowances.

Royal Borough councillors agreed to increase the members’ allowance budget for 2015/16 by £43,219 at the borough’s first full council meeting last night, with the three members of the opposition the only voices opposing the motion.

The proposals will see a special responsibility allowance (SRA) handed to three new principal members of the Royal Borough cabinet at a cost of £31,005 per year to recognise their ‘additional responsibilities’.

But Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) told councillors at Tuesday’s meeting that the role of a councillor should be about serving the community, rather than ‘putting money in your pocket’.

He said: “Think how this is going to look to the rest of the town. You’re increasing the amount of money for yourselves, is that really what you want to be doing at the first council meeting?”

The borough’s principal members for policy, Cllr Bathurst (Con, Sunninghill and South Ascot), transformation and performance, Cllr Brimacombe (Con, Cox Green) and culture and communities, Cllr Stretton (Con, Boyn Hill) will all be awarded an SRA.

The chairman of the borough’s new policy committee will also receive £4,698 while an additional four deputy lead members will be granted an extra allowance of £1,879 each.

In total, the Royal Borough will fork out £656,000 in councillors’ allowances in the next year.

Cllr David Evans (Con, Hurley and Walthams) told the meeting that the rise in allowances was justified considering the Royal Borough’s shopkeeper ‘Thatcherite’ approach to running local government.

He said: “We in this authority under the leadership of Cllr Burbage have quite unambiguously chosen the shopkeeper model.

“With that, is the consequence of wanting to get more councillors involved.

“But I think it will be good value. We are the Thatcherite, shopkeeper local authority and I’m proud of that.”

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