A row has erupted over the amount of money paid to councillors chairing two new committees.
At a meeting of Preston Council yesterday, a motion was put forward to reject plans to pay the chairmen of the Crime and Disorder Committee and the Standards Committee £1,638 a year.
The plans were criticised by opposition councillors who said the amount of money could not be justified by the amount of work carried out.
The report was put forward by the Independent Remuneration Panel, who looks at the amount of money paid to members, which they say is in line with amounts paid to other chairs of committees.
Coun Bill Shannon, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at the authority, said: “Once again we seem to have the Labour party putting forward another paid role for a member of the Labour party. The Crime and Disorder Committee has met twice this year. There are two more meetings scheduled.
“We are proposing to pay £1,638. This equates to around £400 per meeting.
“The last of these meetings lasted half an hour. That works out at around £800 an hour. You don’t even pay top barristers that.”
Councillors are paid a basic allowance an extra money for extra responsibilities they carry out.
Coun Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for resources, said: “This is in response to changes (to committees) that have been forced upon us recently.
“This will only stand for 12 months, there is a full review around the corner.
“If this is put through now then people can do the jobs they need to do and cover their expenses and then it cam be addressed in the review.”
Coun David Borrow said: “If you chair a committee you do lots of work behind the scenes, not just at meetings.”