Chiefs tell our 51 councillors: Take a 5 per cent pay cut

CALDERDALE'S 51 councillors face a pay cut if spending plans go ahead.

Liberal Democrat and Labour chiefs want to reduce allowances by 5 per cent from April – a minimum of 500 a head – and impose a two-year pay freeze.

It will still leave them with a basic allowance of about 10,000 a year and up to 30,000 extra for those with special responsibilities.

Council leader Janet Battye said: "It is important that councillors take their fair share of the pain at a time when we are not intending to give pay rises to staff. It feels right that we should do our bit."

Councillor Battye (Lib-Dem, Calder) said that in a bid to cut costs further and streamline the way the council works, the actual number of councillors could be reduced – but that would be subject to further detailed scrutiny.

Deputy leader Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said the 60,000 saving in the cost of member services, highlighted in the budget proposals, included a reduction in training and development support for councillors.

"We also expect that there will not be an automatic increase in allowances as is usual in June," said Coun Swift.

The council spends about 700,000 a year on allowances and expenses.

Any increases or changes to the allowances system usually have to be referred to an independent panel.

Calderdale Council Standards Committee will meet today to approve the allowance scheme, which will run from April.

As it stands, every councillor is entitled to 10,454, with an extra 31,362 for the leader, 15,681 for the deputy leader, 12,545 extra for cabinet members and 7,840 for scrutiny panel chairmen and women.

* Is five per cent enough of a pay cut for councillors? Email: yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk