Council leader set to reject pay rise

Leader of Preston City Council, Coun Peter Rankin

Leader of Preston City Council, Coun Peter Rankin

Have your say

The leader of Preston Council says he will reject a recommended 15 per cent rise in his pay.

Coun Peter Rankin, who is the third poorest-paid leader in the county, said he would decline a report by an independent body which said he should be paid £1,300 more a year.

He is set to make the announcement at a meeting of the authority’s full council on Thursday.

Speaking before the meeting, he said: “While I appreciate the independent body has recognised the work I am doing, and recommended an increase to my allowance, I will be declining it.

“This is not the time to be taking a pay increase when the council has received unprecedented grant reductions and is facing real austerity.”

The leader is currently given a special responsibility allowance of £8,844, which is one of the lowest in the region.

However, that could have risen to £10,148 if the plans were given the go-ahead by the council.

On top of any special responsibility allowances, all of Preston Council’s 57 councillors are paid a basic allowance of £3,567 a year for carrying out their roles.

Coun Rankin said: “I will continue to work on behalf of the city and its people to deliver services to the public in these very challenging times.

“Council staff have had their pay frozen for more than three years and councillors must share in keeping the council’s costs down.

“As a result we have kept councillors allowances down since the current administration took control of the council.

“In fact the leader’s allowance is even less than that received by the previous leader.”

Coun Bill Shannon, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat party, said his group would abstain from the vote onn Thursday ‘on principal’.

He said: “Our stance continues to be that it is wrong for councillors to vote on their own pay.

“There is a situation in council where if you have a prejudicial interest in something you cannot vote on it. If ever there was something that was prejudicial, it is all of us voting on our own pay.”