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Lib Dems welcome decision to freeze councillors' pay

March 27, 2012 10:10 AM

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have welcomed the decision to freeze county councillors' allowances for the coming year.

They claim the move was justified when taking into account Cambridgeshire County Council's budget and electorate size with similar councils across the country, something the first panel paid to do.

"When you taKe budget and electorate size into account, we are not badly remunerated at all," said Councillor Peter Downes who presented this numeric evidence to the second Independent Review Panel set up to discuss members' allowances.

The evidence showed that if the Conservative-run county council had agreed a 25 per cent pay rise, as suggested by a first IRP and backed by the Tories, councillors would have been the second highest paid among 14 comparable councils but with the 12th lowest workload.

The IRP said in its report: "The use of different 'norm groups' within benchmarking allows very different conclusions to be drawn. This became apparent, for example, when the panel looked at the level of allowances paid by other county authorities and then factored in budget and electorate size to the raw data."

"This proves that the evidence base of the first review was flawed," said Cllr Downes. "By using different 'norm' groups it had drawn a very different conclusion - a flawed conclusion."

Lib Dem Leader, Kilian Bourke said: "We have consistently called for a freeze in councillor councillors' allowances and finally common sense has prevailed. We could not justify taking a pay rise when front line services are being cut and people are losing their jobs.

"The evidence Councillor Downes presented to the panel comprehensively undermined the evidence base used by the first panel and proved that a freeze was the right outcome, as we are already paid in line with other similar councils across the country.

"In backing a 25 per cent increase in allowances, the Conservatives made a bad error of judgement."