Big rise in allowances approved by council

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Labour county councillors in Derbyshire have approved allowance increases for those in top posts – but cut expenditure on civic ceremonies.

Councillors’ basic allowances have been frozen at just under £10,000, as has the leader’s additional payment of £32,868.

However, the deputy leader’s payment has risen from £24,651 to £26,294 and cabinet members’ allowances are £19,721, up from £16,434 – although the number of posts has been cut from seven to four. Nine deputy cabinet members, formerly known as cabinet support members, have received the biggest increase from £4,108 to £9,860.

The council, won by Labour from the Conservatives last month, said the higher allowances were needed to reflect ‘increased responsibilities’.

The main opposition leader’s allowance, increased last year to £14,790, is falling to its old level of £8,217 – but the higher figure was not claimed by Labour when in opposition.

Coun Anne Western, Labour council leader and member for Barlborough, said: “Cabinet members have more responsibility and deputy cabinet members have a much bigger role than when they were advisors.

“At the same time, we have made big cuts to civic office costs, so the chairman and deputy chairman will concentrate more on meetings.

“We have cancelled a job advertisement for a new chaffeur and they won’t be going on a circuit of civic dinners – we felt it was wrong when people are queuing outside foodbanks.”

Meanwhile, the council’s chief executive of 16 years Nick Hodgson, who has worked for the authority for 38 years, is leaving. Coun Western said she could not disclose reasons for Mr Hodgson’s departure.