Rochdale Councillors' Expenses: Lib Dem fury

December 15, 2016 10:22 AM

- Controversial plan to dramatically increase Councillor's Allowances goes through

-Lib Dem Leader Councillor Andy Kelly speaks of his fury

-Lib Dems officially refuse to take pay increase

Rochdale Liberal Democrats have spoken of their anger after the Labour Council agreed to increase Councillor's allowances by a staggering 34%. This is despite widespread anger from local people. The decision was taken following a report by an 'Independent' Remuneration Panel - despite a similar panel cutting allowances in 2013.

Local Lib Dem Leader Councillor Andy Kelly said: "I'm appalled and disgusted: at a time when Labour are axing services for the most vulnerable, they embark on one of the biggest percentage pay rises ever seen at local government level... ever. I have made my feelings clear to the panel but it seemed to be destined to go through from the start. There seemed to be a will to make this happen not just from the Labour political leadership but the Conservative Opposition. To say I am furious is an understatement. I have never, ever been more ashamed to be involved in politics. I am pleased that only the Liberal Democrats stood up for the views of local people and will continuing fighting this decision through the Local Government Ombudsman. I have concerns about the criteria they used to make this decision and about the appointment of the independent panel that made these recommendations."

The Conservatives on the Council voted for the rise but proposed instructing the boundary commission to look at reducing the number of councillors from three to two. Councillor Kelly said, "This will take years to go through if it ever does. Any rise in allowances should only begin once Councillors are reduced - this won't happen though."

Councillors Andy Kelly and former Council Leader Irene Davidson formerly presented letters to the Council Chief Executive informing him that they will not take any rise in allowances.