Conservative councillors on NHDC last week (11/11/2010) voted to increase district councillors pay by 18%, with the leader of the council rising by no less than 68%.
Although council services in the region will need to be cut by £1.5 million over the following year they decided to push ahead with the pay-rise regardless. Although an independent panel had suggested that councilors were in line for a pay rise, councillors were under no obligation to push for any increase.
Liberal Democrat Bearton Ward Councillor Lisa Courts said, "With the council implementing massive cuts across all services I find this self-centred pay-rise totally unacceptable. As our residents make tough financial sacrifices during these uncertain economic times, I would have hoped Tory councilors would have recognized this and decided to vote with Lib-Dem councillors to postpone any pay increase.
I've heard that the Conservatives are arguing that any suggestion that this is a pay-rise is incorrect, but quite simply it clearly is."
They have also argued that if the pay was better it would also encourage more people into local politics - but money should never be the driving force behind someone's desire to represent Hitchin residents. It is certainly not the reason I got involved with local politics. I wanted to make a positive difference."