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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 18:02 GMT
Councillors' pay boost criticised
A move to give large pay rises to councillors in a Dorset seaside town has been met with criticism.

Bournemouth Borough Council's Conservative cabinet approved plans for increases of between 17% and 36%.

At the same meeting on Wednesday, an above inflation council tax rise of 4.9% was also agreed.

Mark Wallace, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said the move was "disgraceful" that the council should reconsider their priorities.

Unless the proposal is challenged at the meeting of the full council next Thursday, the leader of the council will get a 34% increase, bringing his salary up to nearly 36,000 a year.

The council's money is meant to be spent on essential services not on feathering councillors' nests
Mark Wallace, TaxPayers' Alliance

The deputy leader's salary will go up by 36%, cabinet members' by nearly 32% and backbench councillors would receive a 17% increase.

Mr Wallace said: "For a supposedly cash-strapped council who has overseen huge increases in council tax in recent years, it is disgraceful for councillors to vote themselves such massive pay rises.

"This money does not come from thin air, it is paid for by hard working taxpayers who increasingly struggle to pay the record levels of tax.

"The council's money is meant to be spent on essential services not on feathering councillors' nests.

"They need to take a good long look at their priorities."

A spokeswoman for the council said the increases were recommended by an independent panel, and were aimed to bring salaries paid to Bournemouth councillors in line with those paid to councillors at other local authorities.

The TaxPayers' Alliance is a UK-wide campaign group for lower taxes.

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