Elmbridge Council approves 1.5% allowance increase

This Is Local London: Leader: Councillor John O'Reilly Leader: Councillor John O'Reilly

Elmbridge Council voted to increase the allowance of councillors by 1.5 per cent at the last meeting of full council.

It is the first such rise to take place in the past four years.

The measure, which will cost the taxpayer an additional £3,000, was put forward by the cabinet following a report from the Independent Remuneration Panel, the body responsible for reviewing members’ expenses.

The panel recommended a review regarding the provisions for childcare and dependent carers as well as an increase to the basic allowance in line with rises given to council officers.

A more comprehensive review of expenses is on the cards for December 2014 and the most recent changes will come into force in June 2014.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, criticised the move and said it was totally unacceptable to hike allowances in the current financial climate.

He said: “Local residents, many of whom are struggling to pay their own bills, will be the ones footing the cost of this increase. Politicians should focus on cutting waste, not prioritise their own allowances and expenses.”

But leader of the Council John O’Reilly said: “It is not easy for this council to discuss its own allowances.

“Four years ago just as the crisis was hitting our residents the council by overwhelming majority voted against the panel’s recommendations.

“We wanted to show some leadership.”

Coun O’Reilly said he hoped residents would see that the council had shown sensitivity in the past four years by rejecting all previous recommendations for increases.

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