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Blackburn with Darwen councillors in row over expenses cap
4:00pm Thursday 9th May 2013 in News
COUNCILLORS will face new caps on expenses and allowances if Blackburn with Darwen borough Labour leader Kate Hollern gets her way.
Her plan to stop elected representatives claiming more than one responsibility allowance, saving the borough around £20,000 a year, provoked a political row.
Tory deputy leader Alan Cottam, who receives more than £3,000, has accused her of ‘double standards’ as her second in commands will still both get an extra £4,900 for holding two jobs.
Coun Hollern will propose the change to the council annual meeting tonight along with a cap of £25 a month for mobile phone bills paid by the town hall.
She wants a new remuneration panel to approve a code banning multiple claims for responsibility allowances.
This means Coun Cottam and fellow Tory Fernhurst councillor John Slater, who both get three allowances, will lose out £1,500 and £1,000 respectively.
Labour’s deputy leaders Andy Kay and Mohammed Khan, who get a single higher allowance for being Coun Hollern’s stand-ins and executive board members of £11,019.60 a year instead of the normal executive board annual sum of £6,134.40, will be unaffected by the change.
Coun Cottam said: “This is double standards. It hits opposition councillors, who have to do more than one job, but not Andy Kay or Mohammed Khan.
“We should be paid for the work we do. I shall demand the Labour deputy leaders lose their extra cash as well.”
Labour will have four councillors affected, including Roe Lee’s Phil Riley who will lose £500 a year. The Labour group chairman said: “Mohammed and Andy get a single allowance which would be hard to split as their executive board and deputies’ duties go together.”
Coun Hollern was unavailable for comment yesterday but she previously said: “We need to send out a message that we look at every cost in these tough times.”
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