Cllr Paul Sales, Leader of the Labour Group on Cambridgeshire County Council, has criticised plans proposed by an independent panel to increase basic allowances for county councillors.

The independent panel reviewed the allowance structure as the council moves from a cabinet to a committee system. The plans would increase the basic allowance for all councillors from £7,610 to £8,600. There would also be new allowances to recompense chairs and vice-chairs of the new committees. Savings from the current allowance structure will come from the abolition of the cabinet member allowances.

Cllr Sales commented: ‘The panel has ignored the clear opinion of the electorate on allowances. When the council is making cuts due to the government’s austerity policy, we need to make sure the public think the allowance structure is fair and reflects the work that councillors do.

‘Labour suggested to the panel that there should be no increase in the basic allowance. Labour also called for an overall reduction in the total £760,000 budget for allowances. We are pleased the council is producing a small saving in the total budget by abolishing the cabinet. But we believe much more could have been done to produce savings for Cambridgeshire tax-payers.’

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