The leader of the Labour group at Lichfield District Council says he backs a decision to freeze allowances for councillors – but says he was “disappointed” not to be consulted on a motion put forward by the Conservative leader.
The proposal to suspend any increases in the money awarded to councillors was approved by the local authority last night.
It had been put forward by council leader Cllr Doug Pullen – but his opposite number, Cllr Steve Norman, said the motion should not have been treated as a party political issue.
“We accept that this [the pay freeze] should be the case, but are disappointed that the Conservatives were trying to make it a party, political issue.
“Normally the leader would speak to his opposite number and both would agree that that that motion would go to council.”Cllr Steve Norman
Cllr Pullen said Cllr Norman did have prior notification of the proposed text.
“Cllr Norman will have received at least five days notice of my motion, so I am unsure as to what he means.
“I cleared it, via an officer, to the only person that matters in these issues – Dr Declan Hall, the chair of the Independent Remuneration Committee.”Cllr Doug Pullen
Cllr Norman said an agreement was already in place to ensure any increases in allowances were kept in line with the pay of council staff.
“I discovered that there was due to be a review of allowances in June this year by the Independent Remuneration Panel, which recommends allowances to each council, but of course, COVID-19 had postponed that to next year.
“In fact, they last met in 2016 and the allowances – which are less than those awarded in the Cannock Chase or Tamworth councils – were agreed to be ‘updated annually in line with annual percentage pay increase given to Lichfield District Council employees’.
“In other words, because the staff pay is frozen so would councillors allowances – a continuation on what was agreed four years ago.”