‘No options off the table’ in cutbacks – then councillors give themselves a pay rise

Councillors in Argyll and Bute are to receive a 1% pay rise, despite warning that services could be cut by 20%.

Most of the pay rises agreed at Lochgilphead last month apply Scotland-wide and are mandatory, but council leader Dick Walsh also proposed to increase senior members’ allowances by 1%.

Cllr Georg Freeman moved an amendment to take no action, in effect rejecting this, but was defeated by 17 votes to five.

Afterwards Cllr Freeman said: “I made it clear that I would have rejected the 1% increase for all councillors, but was told by council officers that the Scottish Government had passed legislation that did not allow councils any flexibility to reject increases on the councillors basic pay.

“I told the council that at a time when the council was facing massive cuts in its budget from the Scottish Government and many of my constituents were forced to use food banks, I could not justify the 1% increase on the senior councillors’ salary which was £23,000.

“Unfortunately, the majority of councillors agreed to the increase for senior councillors.”

A report to the meeting by executive director of customer services Douglas Hendry confirmed that remuneration for the council leader, provost and councillors was regulated by central government, adding that it was logical to achieve parity by adopting the same percentage increases for senior councillors.

And a council spokesperson added:  “Councillor costs, like other council services, will be considered as we look at options for and ways of achieving savings.

“These costs will not be exempt from that process. No decisions have been made yet about any individual budget or service.

“However, since the number of policy leads has now been reduced, an overall saving in councillor costs has been achieved.”

4 Comments

  1. Cut the number of Cllrs ,no need for 36 ,the majority of decisions are deligated to officials .
    Where were the other Cllrs 14 not accounted for ?

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