I have only just been alerted via this blog post by Durham North Conservative candidate David Skelton that Labour councillors in Durham have just voted themselves through a 20% increase in their allowances.

Here's what happened at the meeting at the end of July according to the local paper:

Durham County councillors have given themselves a 20 per cent increase in the basic allowance they are paid for doing the job.The increase, which was proposed by an outside panel appointed by the council’s finance chief Stuart Crowe, was approved at Wednesday’s meeting of the full council.

There were 96 councillors present and 69 voted in favour, none opposed the proposal and 27 abstained, including the Conservative group.

All 126 councillors will get a basic allowance of £13,000, up 20 per cent from £11,079, backdated to April 1. The special responsibility payment for leader Simon Henig will rise 21 per cent from £30,136 to £36,575, while that for deputy leader Alan Napier will rise almost eight per cent, from £18,508 to £19,950. The six other cabinet members will receive £13,300, up from £11,019.

David had this letter in yesterday's Northern Echo criticising the move.

Jonathan Isaby

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