THE leader of Teesside’s largest council is recommending councillors’ allowances be frozen for the second year in a row.
Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Borough Council, explained the original plan was to increase allowances by a below-inflation one per cent, in line with the authority’s offer to its workers.
However he has now decided to recommend freezing the allowance in order to save about £33,000.
The basic allowance for ordinary councillors is £9,300. Last year leading councillors had their income cut by four per cent.
Coun Cook, Labour, said: “It’s not a lot of money in the big scheme of things, but it all goes in the pot and we have to do all we can.”
Ken Lupton, leader of the Conservative Group on the council, said the council’s cabinet should undertake a complete review of the governance arrangements and the number of councillors, which could result in significant reductions in the cost of the democratic representation.
He said: “This is the only area of council activity that has not been scrutinised in the last seven years and it is unfair to staff who have been subject to significant changes to their employment conditions and working practices.”
Coun Mark Chatburn, also a Conservative, who represents Yarm and Kirklevington, said his personal opinion was there should be a cut in councillors’ allowances across the board.
The issue will be discussed at the council's cabinet committee on Thursday, February 21.