Preston City councillors have voted to give themselves a rise in allowances of 2.2 per cent.
But council leader Peter Rankin refused to accept a 18.6 per cent rise in his expenses – and the council agreed that he could take the lower rise like other members.
Councillors pointed out that they had only had two rises in 12 years.
And some wondered if the the lack of reward for public service would deter future prospective councillors.
An independent panel recommended that Preston councillors’ allowances should go up by 2.2 per cent from £3,603 per year to £3,682.
Those rates can also be topped up with special responsibility payments for committee chairmen, vice chairmen and so on.
The panel also recommended that Coun Rankin’s allowance be increased from £8,933 to £10,595 in recognition of his workload leading the coucnil.
But Coun Rankin told the full council yesterday that he could not accept what amounted to a nearly 20 per cent rise.
He said: “In the current climate I don’t think that’s reasonable. I think 2.2 per cent is fair – that’s what our staff are getting.”
Labour Coun Martyn Rawlinson said members had only had two rises in 12 years.
He said there were many observers who felt councillors should do the job for free.
But he felt councillors should be appropriately compensated for time and effort involved.
“People out there have no idea what it entails being a councillor,” said Coun Rawlinson.
He said Coun Rankin’s allowance was low for what amounted to a full-time job.
Coun David Borrow said the leader’s allowance ought to go up by a higher amount because of the extra work and responsibility involved.
Tory Coun David Hammond said the council leader worked hard for the authority.
He said it was getting “more and more difficult” to get candidates to stand for election.
The vote to increase allowance was carried without objection – but many opposition councillors abstained.