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Brent councillors vote for a payrise at a budget meeting to find £7.4m cuts

PUBLISHED: 11:43 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:43 25 February 2020

Brent Civic Centre. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

Brent Civic Centre. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

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Brent councillors have voted to give themselves a payrise at the same meeting where they agreed to find £7.4m budget cuts.

They approved the recommendation at a full council meeting on February 18, that all members should receive a 2 per cent increase, taking the basic allowance to £12,484 - an increase of £244 from 2019/20.

The chairman of the audit and standards committee's additional special responsibility allowance (SRA) will jump from £1,500 to £5,000.

And the leader of the opposition, Conservative councillor Reg Colwill,will receive a £2,000 increase to his SRA taking it up to £8,000.

Some councillors voiced their opposition to the suggestion, with Cllrs Abdirazak Abdi, Anton Georgiou and Robert Johnson among those who said they could not support it in light of recent budget cuts and tax increases.

Cllr Georgiou, the sole Liberal Democrat in the chamber, said: "At the same time (the council) has approved a budget that increases council tax by 3.99pc, we're sitting here for an increase in allowances once again.

"It doesn't sit well with me, I think (others) should be commended for voting with their conscience and it's an absolute disgrace that we're discussing this."

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Cllr Mary Daly said she would donate her allowance increase to charity and suggested others who are able to do so could follow suit.

The basic uplift was recommended following a review by the Independent Renumeration Panel (IRP) and is in line with the Local Government Pay Settlement.

Several councillors called for a change to the system, which currently requires them to verify their pay.

Cllr Matt Kelcher said: "I don't think we should have to come back each year to vote on our allowances.

"It's a terrible flaw in the system in the same way that MPs in parliament have to vote on their own salaries."

He suggested that decisions on allowances should be accepted in line with those on the council staff payroll.

"If they get inflation, we should get inflation as well. If they don't, we shouldn't either," he said.

"This way we end the bickering, we end the point-scoring, the grandstanding and it's accepted as an independent process."


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