By Jonathan Isaby
Friday 8.45pm update:
Barnet Conservative Councillor Brian Salinger has used this comment on the thread to explain that had he been able to attend the meeting he would have joined his wife in refusing to vote through the increase in allowances:
"I am Kate Salinger's husband. I was the one member of the Council absent on Tuesday. I was home suffering with the effects of food poisoning. Like Kate I had made clear to Cllrs Hillan and Coleman that I would not support the increases.
"I made clear that given the choice between supporting the party at a national level and supporting it at a local level, I would support the party nationally. Had I been there I am sure Coleman would have ensured that I too was removed from the committees and outside bodies that I sit on.
"I continue to oppose the increases and will work within our party and will support any actions taken to put this matter right.
"For the record neither Kate nor I claim the full amount that we are entitled to receive under the old or new schemes."
Yesterday Harry noted the condemnation by Local Government minister Grant Shapps of the LGA for recommending increases in councillor allowances.
Today Shapps (pictured left) has gone on the offensive against two authorities which are introducing such increases.
The Barnet Times carries a report about the increases just voted through by Tory-controlled Barnet Council:
"Council leader Lynne Hillan can claim up to £54,000 per year for
the role, a jump of nearly £20,000, on top of a £10,000 basic members
allowance available to all councillors. Cabinet members are the other big winners doubling their £17,000
entitlement to £34,000, although they have agreed not to claim £7,200
this year to ease the transition and keep it within budget."
Cllr Hillan (pictured right) said that the move to increase her allowance made "good sense" because the role of council leader has gone from being part-time to full-time in recent years.
The paper adds that the sole Conservative councillor to refuse to back the allowance hike, Kate Salinger, "was removed from the every committee she was
on by her party peers at the end of the meeting".
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the capital, Labour councillors in Newham – where all 60 councillors are in fact Labour – have voted through a 4% pay rise for the Borough's executive mayor, Sir Robin Wales – who enjoys an annual salary of £80,029.
Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has responded to these moves in a non-partisan fashion:
"At a time when there's a public sector pay freeze councillors should think twice about rewarding themselves with bumper pay rises. Whether it's a Labour council in Newham or a Conservative one in Barnet, increasing pay when others are losing their jobs both looks and feels wrong. I think councils will struggle to justify such a casual approach to spending taxpayers' money and I urge them to think again."