Brent councillors reject pay rise amid public sector income freeze

Brent Civic Centre

Brent Civic Centre - Credit: Nathalie Raffray

Councillors in Brent have rejected a pay rise in response to widespread public sector salary freezes.

At a full council meeting on Monday (February 22), they voted to keep their yearly pay structure agreed for 2020/21, which means each member will continue to receive a basic allowance of £12,484.

Further amounts are awarded for additional responsibilities, such as positions on committees, with Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt (Lab, Tokyngton) entitled to £39,738.

A 2.75 per cent increase was recommended as part of the Local Government Pay Award for the forthcoming year, which would have seen Brent’s basic offering increase by £343 over the year.

However, councillors felt they could not accept this while the "majority of employees in the public sector” faced pay freezes under the government’s latest Spending Review.

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It came as the council agreed its budget for 2021/22, which includes a 4.99 per cent council tax increase and cuts of £1.6 million.

Alternative proposals for the budget, put forward by the borough’s Conservative Group, sought to save £200,000 for the year by reducing councillors’ allowances.

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It suggested cutting the basic amount to £10,000, bringing the leader’s entitlement down to £30,000, reducing deputy leader Cllr Margaret McLennan’s (Lab, Northwick Park) total allowance from £28,968 to £20,000, and removing two cabinet posts.

These proposals, along with the Conservatives’ wider amendment, were rejected at the meeting.

On the subject of remuneration, Cllr Butt acknowledged just over 2,000 Brent Council employees would receive a £500 bonus – distributed pro rata for part-time staff – for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This follows on from the council’s decision to award all staff an extra day of holiday on Christmas Eve last year as another token of appreciation for their work.

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