TORIES have blasted claims they are “greedy and shamefaced” and have “snouts in the trough” following a 50% pay increase.
Borough Cllr Justin Madders said a new scheme of allowances was debated by the Shadow Authority running the new Cheshire West and Chester Council, which comes into being in April 2009, following a report from an Independent Commission.
And while its recommendations were mainly accepted, he claims Tory councillors decided to increase the allowances for chairs of committees by 50% above the Commission’s recommendations, from £2,000 to £3,000 on top of their basic allowance.
Cllr Madders, present Labour group leader and a Shadow Authority member, said: “In this difficult economic climate with the credit crunch, it beggars belief the Tories could be so shamefaced.
“The new authority faces a difficult first few years financially and for the Tories to ignore that and line their own pockets instead smacks of snouts in the trough and a strange dislocation from reality.”
Gareth Anderson, a borough councillor and Shadow Authority member, hit back: “Only Policy Development Board Chairmen are having their allowances raised, not all Chairmen.
“This is because the cross-party Governance Committee agreed they had a new role which demanded a huge amount of time which the Independent Panel could not have been aware of when it made its recommendations.”
He said Labour Cllrs Paul Donovan and Tony Sherlock, both on the Governance Committee, had no objections.
Cllr Anderson added: “It is very sad Cllr Madders is choosing to play party politics over £9,000 which his party did not originally oppose, when these nine Chairmen are working incredibly hard to shape a new council with 15,000 staff and a budget of half a billion pounds, all thanks to the decision of his Labour Government to create unitary local government here in Cheshire.”