Isle of Wight councillors vote to give themselves a pay rise

Mixed views at last night’s meeting when Isle of Wight councillors voted to accept an increase to their allowance. Details within

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Isle of Wight councillors voted to increase their pay by more than £200 last night despite a call to freeze it while the Island suffers from Covid-19.

At a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council last night (Wednesday), the member’s allowance scheme was passed which, following the advice of an independent remuneration panel, increases councillors basic and special responsibility allowances by 2.75 per cent.

This means the basic allowance for all 40 Isle of Wight Councillors for 2020/21 is now £8,231, a £220 increase from the previous financial year when councillors received £8,011.

Andre: Call to freeze allowances
Cllr Debbie Andre, leader of the Island Independent Group, however, asked councillors to freeze the allowance increase.

She said:

“It is totally inappropriate in this situation we are currently in to be accepting an increase.

“I know was agreed as an annual percentage increase but in light of recent times I propose we freeze the allowance.”

The move was only supported by two other councillors, Michael Lilley and Paul Fuller, while six councillors abstained from the vote — Cllrs Rodney Downer, John Howe, John Medland, Lora Peacey-Wilcox, Ian Stephens and Shirley Smart.

Majority approved the increase
However, 29 councillors voted against the motion and with the majority, approved the increase.

Cllr Richard Hollis said:

“The work does not stop — valuable councillors put in a hell of a lot of work, I don’t see why they should be belittled for having a small amount of recompense for the hours and hours that they do.”

Stewart: Councillors can choose to not take any part of their allowance
Leader of the council, Cllr Dave Stewart, said:

“I would say any councillor can choose not to take any part of their allowance.

“I also support the raise in staff salaries as they have worked very hard during the pandemic.”

Hutchinson: We ought to follow panel’s recommendations
Cabinet member for strategic finance, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, said the allowances were linked to the pay awards in the first places to take away any political debates. He said:

“We are fortunate to have an independent review panel and we ought to follow the recommendations — sometimes they will be beneficial, sometimes they won’t.”

Lilley:
Supporting the freeze, Cllr Lilley said:

“I accept what others have said but these are exceptional times and I think it is important to make the statement to our communities that we want to share with them some of the absolute pain they have.

“I don’t see this as a political statement but a being a human being statement.”

Cllr Clare Mosdell reminded the meeting of ex-councillor Julia Baker-Smith who had had to use a foodbank while getting the allowance.

She said:

“The allowances are not huge and we shouldn’t ever compare our financial circumstances to others. We shouldn’t be putting people in a position where we have to have this discussion. Bills haven’t frozen.”

Reasons to support the rise
Cllr Andrew Garratt also pointed out that should councillors wish to do so they could always donate the money to charity.

Cllr Geoff Brodie said the allowance was pretty low but is an important element of attracting people to stand as a councillor from ordinary backgrounds.

Other increases were made to special allowances some councillors receive for fulfilling other roles in the council, such as being a cabinet member, chair of a committee and a leader of a group.

The leader of the council receives an additional £16,462, deputy leader £10,289 and cabinet member £8,231.


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: Go Simple Tax under CC BY 2.0

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16 Comments on "Isle of Wight councillors vote to give themselves a pay rise"

newest oldest most voted
Patterson

It’s simple, note which councillors voted for this increase, or abstained, and vote them out of office in the next Council Elections.

Spartacus

It is simple they should not be able to vote themselves a pay rise its disgusting and cannot be allowed to get away with this.

alaniow

Such a pity most were not furloughed like many of the population, they would have only got 80% and far better value for the ratepayer.
Would we have missed them?

JossS

No

JossS
An absolute disgrace!! Obviously those Councillors who are GREEDY enough to accept this rise have put to the back of their selfish minds the poverty most of us here on the island will now face, jobs gone, eating through the generosity of food banks, keeping a roof over your head ……. it goes on. Also Cllr Dave (Useless) Stewart EVERYONE worked hard during the pandemic especially our… Read more »
beyondheat
The council can’t make the sums add up at the moment. And that has only worsened with Covid. They are turning every screw they can on the public, whilst spending money on white dots on the pavement and paying themselves more. I’ve had no pay rise in years. Plenty I know we’re furloughed at 80% pay. Others lost their jobs altogether. This leaves a very bad taste… Read more »
collin

It’s not an enormous sum, but it is symbolic, much like 30 Pieces of silver.
It would have been symbolic to have resisted it.

Spartacus
There is no justification what so ever for this. With the current situation where people are being made redundant, furloughed and businesses closing its a disgrace. It is immoral that they vote themselves any benefits it’s undemocratic, unjust and a misappropriation of funds, if anything they should take a pay cut as some of them don’t turn up at meetings and contribute nothing to the community. To… Read more »
iowgirl

Shocking. Greedy. Shockingly greedy.

Benny C
Shame it isn’t performance related. Attendance, Committee participation, Standards, clarity, economic contribution, etc, could all be monitored and evaluated to calculate a fair contribution for a fair contribution. In commercial life that what RSPs, etc are for. Consistent effort and outperformance. Why isn’t it popular? Well, in this case we would save a fortune because half the cabinet don’t contribute. Ian Ward should be suitably penalised for… Read more »
johniw

So sad that those we voted for and trusted to look after our interests are mostly just looking after their own.

Benny C

Amazing logic displayed here. ‘Bills haven’t gone down…’. True, but competence levels have, and costs to islanders have gone up – chain ferry, Council tax, reduced services, poor planning decisions, etc. Paying more for less doesn’t compute. Value for money is the issue, not costs. The logic spoken reveals the heart of the problem.

Mark L Francis
Its not a huge amount given the work expected of a councillor. Back in the olden days, it was the perks of being able to promote your own business interests that was the main incentive to hold political office on the IOW. That said, I would gladly support the same amount being paid to some to stay at home.
Spartacus

What’s changed they are only there for personal gain, it’s shameful.

polly

‘People with ordinary backgrounds’ eh…

sandowner
Maybe they can use their rise to pay for a needy pensioners TV licence, or assist a family struggling to make ends meet due to loss of income caused by Covid regulations. It defies belief that they can be so stupid as to accept a rise in the current climate. They will pay the price in May They should hang their heads in shame. I am not… Read more »