The staunchest supporters of Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting stood to lose thousands if recommendations from an independent panel on councillors expenses had been adopted last month. The council voted to refer back the report.
The panel recommended that councillors basic allowances should be frozen, and that key postholders should have their extra pay cut back because their workload did not justify the sums involved.
Shropshire councillors already get an above-average allowance of £11,514 a year, with the council leader Peter Nutting getting three times that much.
Other post-holders such as chairs of scrutiny committees and deputy portfolio holders – all Tories appointed by Mr Nutting – would have seen their additional allowances slashed. Chairs of scrutiny committees currently receive twice the basic allowance, but the panel recommended halving this.
It also recommended increasing the allowances for the council leader and opposition group leaders. Both the Tory Leader, Peter Nutting and Labour Leader, Alan Mosley declared that this element was inappropriate and that they would not accept any rise.
In proposing a motion that rejected the report, Cllr. Nutting said the basic councillors’ allowance should rise and that higher allowances to most postholders should be retained. He said the panel had interviewed him but not done what he asked.
Labour leader Alan Mosley said, “This, of course, flies in the face of why the Panel exists ie to ensure expert, open, independant and impartial assessment of the value of a councillors work. Hence, to ensure that residents get value for money and remove the suggestion that councillors are self-serving and set their own allowances too high.
“The IRP spent much time working on their report which was rejected out of hand by the Tories on the Council This was because the report contained a number ofproposals for a reduction in allowances for various posts, based on workload, and held by members of their Party.
“The motion to reject the report also demanded that a rise in the allowances for all councillors should be considered and some Tory councillors claimed that a rise of 30% would be justified. I was disgusted that the proposal was carried by the same people who are culpable in imposing massive cuts in vital services and redundancy for many hundreds of staff.”
“The Independent Remuneration Panel were suggesting changes which would save around £45,000. The impact was mainly on those postholders perceived as having less of a role, most of whom provide vital powers of patronage to the Leader, Cllr Nutting, who may therefore, be seen as having a vested interest in keeping their pay as high as possible.”

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