Connect with us

News

Cambridgeshire Tory leader Steve Count under fire for attack on councillor allowances

Cllr Lorna Dupre reminded Cllr Steve Count of what he had done in 2017 after becoming county council leader

Avatar photo

Published

on

Lib Dem councillor Lorna Dupre tore a strip off opposition leader Steve Count at Cambridgeshire County Council for criticising an index linked increase in allowances that was recommended by an independent panel. Cllr Count said of the modest rise that “I never voted for this in the first place so I doubt I am going to be I do not see how I can vote for this.

“In the second place it was not my wishes to increase the members allowances when this was put in front of us and now to say, ‘oh we now need a little bit more because part of that deal was an inflationary rise’ does not have my support either.”

Cllr Steve Count said of the modest rise that “I never voted for this in the first place so I doubt I am going to be I do not see how I can vote for this”.

Cllr Steve Count said of the modest rise that “I never voted for this in the first place so I doubt I am going to be I do not see how I can vote for this”.

But Cllr Dupre was having none of it.

Advertisements
Pictures
Advertisement

“When we ask an independent panel to meet and consider the situation and make some recommendations, I tend to take the view that we should listen to what they say,” she said.

“And unless there are overwhelming reasons to do something different that we should accept what they say.

“We’ve asked them to do a job of work they’ve done that with rigor and to the best of their ability and we should accept it.”

And she reminded Cllr Count of what he had done in 2017 after becoming leader of the county council.

Advertisement

WATCH: Cambs county councillor accused of living 6,000 miles away in Thailand but still drawing £11,500 a year

“If we don’t and if we start messing around and say we’re going to do our own thing we end up with the situation that we had in July 2017 when under Councillor Count’s leadership of the council the recommendations of the independent remuneration panel were rejected,” she said.

“And the total bill for councillors allowances changed from the one recommended by the panel, which was £751, 550 to £936,712 which was an increase of £185,000 over and above the recommendations of the independent panel.”

Advertisement

And she reminded councillors, this was at a time “when the vast majority of which was awarded to members of the ruling group.

“That is absolutely unacceptable, and I do not want to do anything which opens the door to that kind of abuse of the system which is why I’m very keen that unless there are overwhelming reasons to do something different, we should accept with gratitude the work that the independent panel has done and the recommendations that they have come up.”

‘Hoo-ray and up she rises’ as Fenland Council vote to increase allowances

Advertisement

Cllr Alex Bulat (Labour) said: “I debate a lot of controversial issues in politics and in my day job as well, but I think there are very few things that upset me more than this debate we have to have every year.”

Cllr Alex Bulat (Labour) said: “I debate a lot of controversial issues in politics and in my day job as well, but I think there are very few things that upset me more than this debate we have to have every year.”

Cllr Alex Bulat (Labour) said: “I debate a lot of controversial issues in politics and in my day job as well, but I think there are very few things that upset me more than this debate we have to have every year.”

She agreed it was right for an independent panel to make recommendations on allowances, but she also felt “role of a councillor should be treated as a job including with workers’ rights.

“For example, I’m not sure how many of you know that you most lenders don’t even accept this source of income like for a mortgage application for instance which really would put off a lot of young people who don’t have a clue that this is what we’re getting into when you know we’re thinking about buying our first home for instance

Advertisement

“I do think if we actually want people to put in like a decent amount of work in this and we want diverse in local politics we do need to treat it as work.”

Cllr Bulat added: “This is the process we have, and this is the recommendation that we have.

“I just want to make one point because I feel like across and this is not the criticism of this debate in this council.

“There is a bit of hypocrisy in this debate so for instance I was looking at Fenland District Council which voted to increase basic allowances, increase special responsibility allowances, and voted to pay allowances for the Combined Authority work which other districts do which by the way and I totally agree

Advertisement

“One of the Fenland district councillors who also sits on the county council – though not present today – said and I quote ‘we cannot forever say no one; councillors deserve remuneration for the work they do’

“And I totally agree with that so I would say let us have some consistency if we are going to raise the allowances at district we cannot really come here and say we actually do not deserve any rise when literally everything is increasing.

East Cambridgeshire councillors play ‘catch up’ with 12 per cent pay rise

Advertisement

“I am not sure about all of you, but my food bills are increasing, my rent is increasing everything apart from some luxury goods in this country is increasing right now.

“I think if we’re standing for and if we’re campaigning for increases in pay for our nurses our doctors our care workers then we should apply the same standards to ourselves because the cost of living does affect everyone so I’m really passionate about this issue.”

She added: “I really want to support more diversity in local government, and I will support the recommendations.”

Advertisements
canopyuk.com in-article

Cllr Jonas King, who recently left the Conservatives to become an Independent, said he would not support the increase.

Advertisement
Cllr Jonas King (back row), who recently left the Conservatives to become an Independent, said he would not support the increase.

Cllr Jonas King (back row), who recently left the Conservatives to become an Independent, said he would not support the increase.

“This administration has just passed a council tax increase of almost 5 per cent and that money should be diverted into public services and not lining councillors pockets,” he said.

Cllr David Connor (Con) said: “I do not agree in this instance with the remuneration panel.

Cllr David Connor (Con) said: “I do not agree in this instance with the remuneration panel.

Cllr David Connor (Con) said: “I do not agree in this instance with the remuneration panel.

Advertisement

“In these times of austerity and with the coalition putting Council Tax up to more than 5 per cent, I think it would send out a wrong message to our residents so I will not be supporting this.”

Cllr Simone Taylor (Ind) said she supported the rise.

“I do believe that many like me when I attend council meetings and I take time off work I do not get paid and it is not lying in my pockets thank you very much,” she said.

Cllr Ross Hathorn (Lib Dem) said supported the rise, too.

Advertisement
Cllr Simone Taylor (Ind) said she supported the rise.

Cllr Simone Taylor (Ind) said she supported the rise.

“Before Christmas we were all asked if we could fill in a Freedom of Information request about how much work we put in,” she said.

“And across the council there was a universal sort of shock and horror because there is so much even detailing what we do because it is diverse and complicated

“So, I think it is reasonable that we listen to the recommendations, and I will be supporting this.”

Advertisement

Cllr Stephen Ferguson (Independent) said he remained passionate about making being a councillor accessible to a wider range of people “and not the sole preserve of the retired and independently wealthy.

Cllr Stephen Ferguson (Independent) said he remained passionate about making being a councillor accessible to a wider range of people “and not the sole preserve of the retired and independently wealthy

Cllr Stephen Ferguson (Independent) said he remained passionate about making being a councillor accessible to a wider range of people “and not the sole preserve of the retired and independently wealthy. He is pictured centre in the photo

“My dilemma is that if I vote against this motion, I will be raising the barrier to entry to future councillors.

“On the other hand, we are living in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and it has taken a heavy toll on the life of ordinary people. In 2020 the Joseph Fry Foundation published a report that revealed that one in five Britons is living in poverty in 2020 that was 13.6 million people and things have significantly worse since then

Advertisement

“But after 13 years of ideological Conservative austerity we are always in crisis these days and it’s difficult to see things getting better anytime soon,” he said.

Cllr Ferguson said if the council agreed to increase the allowance, he would donate the extra to a charity.

Twenty-six councillors were in favour of the increase, fifteen against and two abstentions.

Eighteen county councillors were absent.

Advertisement

 

FACT FILE

In 2017 then Cambs council leader Councillor Steve Count had to defend his decision to increase members’ allowances by 30 per cent saying the “numbers were not as clear cut as they appeared”.

He had a “heavy heart” making the recommendation, but said the independent panel was “not in line with reality”.

It gave a massive rise to all senior Tory councillors holding portfolio style positions – including to the leader.

Advertisement

The 2024 independent panel recommended that the indexation for 2023/24 and 2024/25 should be based on the P&M Pay Scale, grades P4-P6. This equates to an indexation of 3.88% for 2023/24.

The percentage increase for 2024/25 will also be based on the P&M Scale P4-P6. For 2023/24 and 2024/25 any backdating will be applicable to 1st April 2023 and 1st April 2024.

Basic Allowance Current allowance £11,133.53 x 61 £679,145.33 Increase £431.98 £26,350.84 Total £705,496.17

 

Facebook

Read More

The local Neighbourhood Support Team (NST) carried out a warrant at Constanta Shop, 272 Lincoln Road, on Monday morning (22 July) where drugs and weapons were found, resulting in two men being arrested and a closure notice served on the store. The local Neighbourhood Support Team (NST) carried out a warrant at Constanta Shop, 272 Lincoln Road, on Monday morning (22 July) where drugs and weapons were found, resulting in two men being arrested and a closure notice served on the store.
News6 mins ago

‘Shut up shop’ order to Peterborough convenience store confirmed by court

Store owners to fight closure of Constanta

Of Bar 42, Inspector Sam Tucker of Cambridgeshire police said: “We note the decision of the committee and believe there was no option but to take this action following the recent serious incidents of violence. Of Bar 42, Inspector Sam Tucker of Cambridgeshire police said: “We note the decision of the committee and believe there was no option but to take this action following the recent serious incidents of violence.
News47 mins ago

‘Serious violence’ prompts alcohol ban at Peterborough night spot

The bar has the right to appeal the interim ban

Police briefing ahead of arrests Police briefing ahead of arrests
News16 hours ago

Cambridge: Children arrested for robbery, theft, harassment, threats to kill and knife crime

Arrests made in Abbey ward and Cherry Hinton

Cllr Shepherd and Chief Supt Paul French Cllr Shepherd and Chief Supt Paul French
News16 hours ago

OPINION: Cyclists get a ‘wake up’ reminder – could it happen in Cambridgeshire?

Tannoy system piloted by NE Lincolnshire Council

CA-business-award-student-winners-with-Michael-Bates-Derrick-Holmes-Brian-Kett-and-Peter-Dennis-of-Wisbech-BPMC CA-business-award-student-winners-with-Michael-Bates-Derrick-Holmes-Brian-Kett-and-Peter-Dennis-of-Wisbech-BPMC
News17 hours ago

End of year achievements celebrated at Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech

Awards presented across all departments of the academy

(left) Imogen Grant, former student at Stephen Perse Cambridge and lightweight world champion rower and (right) Bethany Shriever, former teaching assistant at Dame Bradbury’s Junior School and BMX gold medallist. Photo credit: Stephen Perse Cambridge (left) Imogen Grant, former student at Stephen Perse Cambridge and lightweight world champion rower and (right) Bethany Shriever, former teaching assistant at Dame Bradbury’s Junior School and BMX gold medallist. Photo credit: Stephen Perse Cambridge
News17 hours ago

Stephen Perse Cambridge schools cheer on their Olympic hopefuls

'Great role models who continue to inspire our students'

Horsefair car park. Town Centre, Wisbech Tuesday 23 July 2024. Picture by Terry Harris Horsefair car park. Town Centre, Wisbech Tuesday 23 July 2024. Picture by Terry Harris
News23 hours ago

Horsefair Wisbech 35,000 sq ft discount store and new car park ‘will boost footfall’

NewRiver offer massive vote of confidence in Wisbech

Trio of Cambs Lib Dem MPs (from left) Ian Sollom, the new MP for St Neots & Mid Cambridgeshire, MP for South Cambridgeshire, Pippa Heylings and Charlotte Cane, MP for Ely & East Cambridgeshire Trio of Cambs Lib Dem MPs (from left) Ian Sollom, the new MP for St Neots & Mid Cambridgeshire, MP for South Cambridgeshire, Pippa Heylings and Charlotte Cane, MP for Ely & East Cambridgeshire
News1 day ago

Cambridgeshire MPs vote for action on sewage dumping, cost of living and NHS in King’s Speech

Cambridgeshire Lib Dem MPs challenge on key issues

Dr Nick Valley – part of his ‘memory bank’ of photographs from a long and distinguished career, many of them spent serving the people of March, Cambridgeshire Dr Nick Valley – part of his ‘memory bank’ of photographs from a long and distinguished career, many of them spent serving the people of March, Cambridgeshire
News1 day ago

‘Thank you all from bottom of my heart for all your loyalty and support and I will not forget you’

I have tried my best to follow Elaine Stutard's legacy

Five Dances, choreographed by Arielle Smith, is a modern ballet with a large cast of men and women dressed identically Five Dances, choreographed by Arielle Smith, is a modern ballet with a large cast of men and women dressed identically
News1 day ago

London City Ballet ‘fast, vibrant, inspiring’ at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Classical and contemporary ballet with the freshest possible edge