Despite the authority looking to make £92 million in savings, North Yorkshire County Council members voted in favour of paying the leaders and secretaries of two minor political groups more than £3k a year “special allowances”.
Currently the leader of the biggest party, the deputy leader and the leader of the second party in terms of group members each receive additional payments.
Annual payments of £2,316 and £772 are made to the leaders of “other parties and secretaries of political groups”, where the group has more than 10 per cent of all members.
The elections on May 2 saw two groups – Labour and the Independents – each win seven seats out of the total of 72, less than the required minimum stated by the remuneration committee.
However, at yesterday’s County Council meeting, members were asked to approve a motion to delete the words “more than” and the 10 per cent of the membership to be “interpreted as seven in number”!
UKIP county councillors have condemned a controversial rule change that will add another financial burden to North Yorkshire’s hard-pressed tax payers.
UKIP councillors David Simister (Harrogate, Bilton and Nidd Gorge) and Sam Cross (Filey) and Liberal councillors John Savage (Boroughbridge) and John Clark (Pickering) were the only members to vote against the resolution.
County Councillor Cross said:
It is outrageous that when the authority is looking to make £92 million in savings, Conservative, Lib Dem, Labour and Independents are voting to change the special allowance rules.
Labour and the Independents both failed to get more than the requisite 10 per cent, so they should not get these allowances. It’s a disgrace when people are having problems paying their bills and put food on the table.
County Councillor Simister said:
This is a shocking message to send out to the region’s tax payers, and I for one could not support it.
Many of the roads in Harrogate are in a shocking state, and this money could have gone towards filling a few potholes. Instead it’s going to be filling members’ wallets and purses.
Councillor Carl Les is the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Central and Financial Services, Assets, IT and Procurement.
Councillor Les said:
Two parties had a total of 14 seats on the Council and the pragmatic solution was for them to share one allowance.
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A basic allowance of of £8,994 is paid for each of the 72 members of the Council. This amount has remained frozen since 2009/10 and nationally sits in the middle ground of allowances being paid, with some authorities paying up to £16k and one down to £1.5K
There are also expenses and special responsibility allowances paid in addition to the basic allowance:
- Chairman of the Council – £9,264
- Vice Chairman of the Council – £3,088
- Leader of the Council – £24,704
- Deputy Leader of the Council – £15,440
- Executive members – £13,896
- Chairman of Scrutiny of Health Committee – £9,264
- Chairmen of other Overview and Scrutiny Committees – £4,632
- Vice Chairmen of Overview and Scrutiny Committees – £1,544
- Chairman of Pensions Committee – £4,632
- Chairmen of Area Committees, Appeals Committee, Audit Committee, and the Planning and Regulatory Functions Committee – £3,088
- Chairman of the Standards Committee – £1,544
- Chairman of the Employment Appeals Committee – £1,544
- Leaders of Political Groups
- where group is second party in group membership – £4,632
- other parties, where group has over ten per cent of all members – £2,316
- Chairman of the Scrutiny Board – £1,544
- Secretaries of Political Groups
- where group is first party in group membership – £2,316
- where group is second party in group membership – £1,544
- other parties, where group has over ten per cent of all members – £772
- Champions for Young People and Older People – £4,632
- Independent Members of the Standards Committee (Co-optee) – £772
- Chairman of the Police and Crime Panel – £4,632
- Vice Chairmen of the Police and Crime Panel – £1,544
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