Councillors have voted against increasing their allowances at the same rate as any planned pay rise for staff.
At a meeting of Lancashire County Council, members unanimously rejected the allowance rise suggested by an independent panel.
If accepted, the recommendation would have seen councillors allowances go up in line with staff pay awards.
Councillors also turned down a suggestion to cut their own pay by 10 per cent.
Negotiations are still underway with unions in relation to staff pay. Recommendations are put forward by the authority’s Independent Remuneration Panel.
Councillors are paid a basic allowance of £10,139 and those with extra roles are paid extra.
Coun Malcolm Pritchard, an independent member representing Accrington North, has not claimed a penny in allowances since he was elected four years ago.
He told the council : “I recommend we all take a 10 per cent pay cut.
“I do not think the leader getting £28,000 in special responsibility allowance plus the basic allowance is right.
“Do we not think that we should show a bit of gratitude to our workforce, as we can afford to do it now?
“I have never taken a penny in four years and I am very proud to say that.”
Last year more than £1.2m was paid to Lancashire councillors.
£839,000 was paid to 85 councillors from all parties in basic allowances.
A further £330,138 was paid in special responsibility allowances to cabinet members and others with extra roles, including almost £29,000 to council leader Coun Geoff Driver.
On top of that, £84,403 was paid out to councillors in mileage claims last year.
A further £7,785 was paid in subsistence for members on council duties and £2,287 was paid to members who used public transport.
Coun Driver said: “My allowance is fixed by an independent panel and it is lower than the previous Labour leader of the county council.
“I am also the resources portfolio holder and I don’t get an allowance for that.
“Coun Pritchard doesn’t claim an allowance, so 10 per cent of nothing is nothing.
“The recommendation as it stands is the staff will get a pay rise which is why we have been recommended to get the same. I don’t think we should get that, and I put that to the council.
“I don’t claim any expenses because I only live two-and-a-half miles up the road but some members live a long way away and have to travel to meetings.
“If Malcolm doesn’t want to claim anything that’s a matter for him, but he shouldn’t say what other members should do.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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