Council votes for 20 per cent special allowance rise - and to keep on £675-a-day chief executive

Boston Borough Council
Boston Borough Council

The ruling party in Boston has voted to allow top councillors a 20 per cent rise in their allowances - despite strong criticism from the opposition.

The decision was made to follow an independent panel’s recommendations for special responsibility allowances atMonday’s full council meeting.

Richard Harbord

Richard Harbord

It was also decided not to cut money paid towards IT bills which was going to fund part of the allowance rise.

Opposition councillors reacted strongly against the proposals, in particular with respect to the timing of the rise.

Labour party leader Coun Paul Kenny urged the council to ‘rip up’ the paper and ‘pretend we’ve never spoken about it’.

He said: “This is one of those moments when it’s not your finest hour. I think you should do the people of Boston just one favour and rip up this paper.”

Independent Coun Richard Leggott said: “I don’t know really how anyone can suggest that that’s justifiable at this time.”

Coun Mike Gilbert however, attempted to justify the rise, saying the council hadn’t had one in more than six years.

He said he understood the opposition, having ‘sat on the other side of the bench’ on other occasions.

“Every year this comes up and where we try to justify under pressure from strong opposition,” he said.

Council leader Peter Bedford also pointed to other council’s, saying they were paid more than three times what Boston’s top councillors were.

The decision was passed by 17 votes for, 10 against and one abstain. Conservative party members all voted in favour, while opposition members apart from one voting against.

It was also voted to extend chief executive Richard Harbord’s £675-a-day contract with the council until 2015.

Councillors praised his dedication to the council and said although he was only contracted to 15 days a month, he puts in many hourse beyond that.

Councillors voted 21-5 to extend Mr Harbord’s £121,500-a-year deal.