A report from an independent panel of Luton residents which recommended a £500 a year cut the allowance paid to councillors has been thrown out by an alliance of Labour and Tory councillors with Liberal Democrat councillors voting for the cut.
“There is no point in having an independent panel if you are not going to listen to what they say,” says Liberal Democrat leader on the Council, David Franks.
“This is a disgrace. It’s alright to cut everywhere else, but not their own allowances. It’s ok to put up Council Tax, ok to make people redundant so long as they protect their own allowances. And they wonder why people say politicians are only in it for themselves. What we are seeing here is the clearest example of exactly that.”
Like most Councils, Luton appoints an independent panel to make recommendations about Councillors’ remuneration. The panel report debated at the full Council meeting on Wednesday 20th February recommended a reduction in the basic allowance which all councillors receive from £7,500 to £7,000 a year. Because the basic allowance is used to calculate special responsibility allowances for those who need to put in more time on Council duties it means, for example, that the leader of the Council would have seen a reduction from £22,500 a year to £21,000 and the leader of the opposition from £10,000 to £9,333. The full report and names of the members of the independent panel can be found on the Council web site.