UPDATE: Taxpayers’ Alliance report shows Boston’s council allowance hike was biggest in the country

4.40pm: BOSTON Borough Council has issued a statement to explain why it handed out the biggest increase in allowances in the country to its members.

The council has featured in the national media today following a report from the Taxpayers’ Alliance (see below).

The authority says the recommendation to increase allowances came from the Independent Remuneration Panel.

It said councillors were worried about the rise and chose to introduce it in stages over three years.

Borough leader Coun Peter Bedford said: “The recommendation from the panel recognised that allowances for Boston borough councillors lagged so far behind all others in Lincolnshire.”

A REPORT issued by the campaign group Taxpayers’ Alliance today names Boston Borough Council as the authority that has handed out the biggest rise in allowances paid to members.

As previously reported by The Standard, the borough council increased its basic allowance by 28 per cent from £2,378 to £3,052 in the last financial year.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance points out this was the biggest hike of any council in the country.

The council increased its allowances again this year and will implement a third year of rises next year.

After three years the allowance will reach £4,400 - an 85 per cent increase from 2010/11.

The increase spelled out in today’s report has seen the council feature in a Dirty Dozen list by the Daily Mail.

The rises were the first to be introduced for six years when announced last summer.

The council defended the increase in allowances - revealed by The Standard in July last yeaar - by pointing out that other councils in the country already pay much more.

Neighbours South Holland pay £5,796 and East Lindsey hand out £4,149.

Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“With local authorities up and down the country having to rein in spending and many public sector staff facing a pay freeze, those councillors who have awarded themselves an increase in their allowances in defiance of government advice should hang their heads in shame.

“They cannot retain the moral authority to make tough decisions on council spending if they believe their own allowances should be immune.”