BOLSOVER councillors have come under fire after it was revealed they claim higher basic allowances than any other similar authority in England.
Research by the Tax-Payers’ Alliance shows the council pays a basic allowance to members of £9,902.44, which is more than £2,500 above the second highest on the list for 2011-12.
The solitary Green Party councillor in the district, Coun Duncan Kerr, has further claimed that if all councillors had stuck to the allowance figure independently recommended it could have saved £318,873 over the next three years.
“Bolsover must have some of the cheapest house prices and be one of the poorest areas in the country and yet residents are having to pay councillors more than twice the average figure,” Coun Kerr said. “At a time of recession and when every penny has to count, for councillors to be taking so much does not strike me as fair or right.”
Bolsover’s figure is £2,700 higher for 2011-12 than Tewkesbury Borough Council, which is second on the list of English non-metropolitan districts. Mansfield district councillors claim £6,187 and Ashfield £6,588.
Council leader Eion Watts said a recommended cut in basic allowances had been considered ‘unfair’ by councillors, and ‘undervalued the work and contribution’ of scrutiny members.
He said: “What Coun Kerr has conveniently failed to say is that we rejected an increase of over £26,000 per year in Special Responsibility Allowances, which had been recommended by the Independent Rumuneration Panel.”