Borough councillors hold fire on proposed allowance increase until after the election

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A RECOMMENDATION to increase the allowances paid to Boston borough councillors has been deferred by members, despite support from some of their number.

The authority’s full council met on Monday to debate the proposal, but resolved to postpone the decision until after this year’s election.

The Independent Remuneration Panel - the body required by law to review members’ allowances - had suggested increasing the maximum current basic allowance by up to £2,000, almost doubling the existing value of £2,378 per year.

It argued it would bring the council in line with its neighbouring authorities, all of which have a figure in excess of £4,000 per year, and also attract a broader range of prospective councillors.

However, the increase would allow members to chose how much of the allowance they would like to receive.

Boston Bypass Independent (BBI) member Coun Ray Newell said the council had refused increases to its basic allowance year after year and it had to ‘bite the bullet some time’.

His proposal to back the increase was defeated four votes to 21, with two abstentions.

Conservative Coun Michael Brookes backed the proposal to defer the decision (made by leader of the council Coun Richard Austin), saying he felt it was ‘wrong’ to make the decision when ‘theoretically we could end up with 32 new councillors after the election’.

The vote was passed by 23 to two, with two abstentions.