Ealing Councillors Vote Through 'Pay' Rise

Opponents accuse ruling group have 'snouts in trough'

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Ealing's ruling Labour administration has voted to increase allowances for councillors and create new posts. The victorious group - who now hold a majority of 53 seats on the council - agreed to the rise in expenses at last night's (10/06) annual Mayor -making.

It will mean councillors get a 1% bonus, taking their basic expenses from £9,612 to £9,708.

The Council Leader will see his special responsibility allowance increase from £31,788 to £32,100.

The proposals are being funded out of Council reserves, and the allowances rise, along with the additional posts, are estimated to cost £65,000.

Both the Conservatives and Lib-Dems opposed the increase.

Cllr Gregory Stafford, Conservative Leader of the Opposition said: “It truly sums up the arrogance and disregard that the Labour Party has for the residents of Ealing by proposing to award themselves an extra £40,000 a year to line their own pockets.

''Reserves should be used to improve our dreadful roads and pavements or for real emergencies and unforeseen shortfalls not lining the pockets of the new Labour Councillors.

''Whilst the streets remain filthy and they are hiking up charges on residents for parking and recycling collections, the Labour piggies have their snouts in the trough.”

Liberal Democrat Finance Spokesperson Councillor Andrew Steed said: “The Liberal Democrats say that Labour should hang their head in shame. The first thing they have done since the elections is to take £65,000 of Ealing tax payers’ money and give it themselves instead of using it to provide residents with services.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: " The council agreed in 2007 that members’ allowances would only be increased in line with the local government pay awards set nationally as they are implemented.  Despite an independent panel recommending that allowances in Ealing be increased, they have remained frozen for the past four years and this proposed 1 per cent increase will be met  within existing budgets used to support councillors.  

'' Even though we have faced  unprecedented cuts of £87million over the last few years, council tax has remained frozen for six years and we have already promised to freeze it again next year. We have a good record of reducing our costs whilst protecting frontline services but we know the next few years will be particularly challenging and will require major changes to services.

 "So it is important that all decisions are rigorously scrutinised by councillors to ensure that changes achieve savings whilst continuing to provide good services  to local residents which is why we have reinstated some roles and strengthened other areas.”

11th June 2014