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Lib Dems force U-turn on Sunderland councillor pay rise plan

January 11, 2022 10:52 PM
By Niall Hodson

Liberal Democrats on Wearside have welcomed a decision by the Leader of Sunderland Council to join them in opposing a pay increase for councillors.

Niall Hodson

Niall Hodson

The Leader of Sunderland Council Graeme Miller confirmed at a meeting of the Council's cabinet this week (11th January) that ruling Labour councillors would be joining the Lib Dems in opposing a planned 2% pay rise for all councillors.

Wearside Liberal Democrats had asked council bosses to join them in voting down a proposal made by the Council's Independent Remuneration Panel to increase the basic allowance paid to all 75 city councillors to £8,536 a year.

However, the Council Leader was unable or unwilling to give a csst iron assurance that his councillors would vote against the pay rise when it was first proposed by the Panel in December 2021.

At this week's cabinet meeting, Lib Dem councillors urged Graeme Miller to go further an also make cuts to his own pay and that of the dozens of ruling councillors who receive a 'Special Responsibility Allowance' of up to £37,667 a year on top of their basic allowance.

No such commitment was given.

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Sunderland Council Niall Hodson said:

"It is welcome that after first refusing to say whether or not Labour's council bosses would accept this pay rise, we have finally had a commitment today that the Leader has been shamed into doing the right thing and joining us in voting against an increase in councillors' allowances.

"This is undoubtedly the right thing to do. The public would be understandably livid if councillors got a pay rise whilst services are slashed, council tax is hiked, council staff are made redundant and whilst millions of pounds is being wasted renting new civic centre offices on the Vaux site.

"However, local people will want to know why the Leader of the Council is still refusing to cut his own pay and those of the dozens of ruling councillors who get additional payments of up to £37,000 a year in 'special responsibility allowances'."This jobs the boys mentality from council bosses dishing out extra payments to keep their troops in line must be brought to an end. Ruling councillors must show that they are not immune from the cuts which they are imposing on vital services across the city."