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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 21:06 GMT
Council allowances to go up 140%
Top members of Cornwall's county council are to receive allowance increases of up to 140%.

The cash boost for executive post holders comes after an independent report said the county had some of England's lowest-paid councillors.

But the move was condemned by some members and pensioner campaigners branding the increases "disgusting".

Councillors said the increases would be bringing them in line with other authorities around the country.

Are we going to continue to see lower standards in public life?
Conservative county councillor James Currie

The independent report for the council revealed leader David Whalley received the lowest allowance of any council leader in England.

His Special Responsibility Allowance as leader will now go up from 9,150 to 22,500, some 140%.

Eight other cabinet portfolio members will get a rise from 6,900 to 15,750, a 132% increase.

Council Liberal Democrat Group Leader Brian Preston said the allowance increases were justified.

He said: "The allowances will be just about right.

"For those who have got no special responsibilities, there will be no increase at all. But people who have special responsibilities are well below the rest of the country; and I mean way, way below."

But some councillors do not agree that this bringing allowances in line with other authorities justifies the rises.

Conservative councillor James Currie said: "Are we going to continue to see lower standards in public life?

"I do this job for the benefit of the public. I feel that if I'm given a large salary I am compromised somehow."

Pensioner campaigners have also branded the increases as "disgusting".

Council tax rise

Protester Albert Venison, of the Devon and Cornwall branch of the National Pensioners' Convention, said: "The fact is that councillors are there because we voted them in to do the best for us.

"I don't call making such huge increases as doing their best for the electorate."

The increases allowance take effect from April 2006.

The county council is also warning residents to expect a 5% rise in their council tax next year, but said the budget took into account the allowance rises.

Brian Preston said the council was preparing a budget that would protect the vulnerable people in the county's communities.


SEE ALSO:
Carers criticise council cutbacks
22 Nov 05 |  Cornwall
Warning over 11% council tax rise
07 Nov 05 |  Cornwall


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