Councillors on Labour-run Stoke on Trent City Council have agreed a nine per cent increase in their allowances. The basic allowance increases from £11,000 to £12,000 a year. The Special Responsibility Allowance increases from £22,000 to £24,000. The council leader Cllr Mohammad Perez sees his total allowances increase by £4,000 to £48,000. It is disappointing that the opposition Conservative councillors are supporting these pay rises.
It is true that this is a unitary authority but even in that category many councillors are paid much less as the Taxpayers Alliance survey shows. Rutland pays under £4,000. Hartlepool under £6,000. West Berkshire under £7,000. Windsor and Maidenhead, Herefordshire and Swindon pay under £8,000. Even among the Labour fat cats the allowances are usually lower than Stoke's - Darlington pays out £8,027. Derby £9,976.43.
So the increase is not justified compared to other councils. It is certainly not justified at a time when council staff are managing with a pay rise of just one per cent. Nor is this a council where the councillors are entitled to regard themselves as providing exceptionally good value. Last year they hiked the Council Tax by a referendum dodging 3.49 per cent.