Monday, 9 March 2009
Freer Refuses Pay Rise
Barnet Council Watch salutes Mike Freer, Leader of Barnet Council, who has finally acknowledged the public’s disquiet over the proposed hike in allowances for some councillors.
Last year, Cllr Freer received £51,109 from taxpayers*. Under a package of increases approved by the council last week, Cllr Freer’s allowances would have risen by an inflation busting 7.3% to £54,857.
Today, the Barnet Times reports that Cllr Freer has decided to waive his increase. This blog warmly welcomes the decision he has taken but, frankly, it is about time that all of our elected representatives woke up to the reality of the worsening recession which affects most residents in the Borough.
Cllr Freer told the Times: “It will be interesting to see if the opposition councillors who put their hand up for a freeze still have their hand out for the rise, or will they all waive the rise?”
I agree entirely, but let us not forget who stands to gain the most from the pay award. As our good friends Statler & Waldorf first pointed out, Cllr Andreas Tambourides is set to receive a stonking rise of almost 22%, Lynne Hillan almost 14% and many others are due double digit rises. Will they follow their leader’s example?
In rejecting the decision of the so called Independent Panel which set the allowances, Cllr Freer said that it was up to individual councillors to decide whether to accept the increases. At last week’s council meeting, he gave no indication that he was personally refusing the increase offered to him. Cllr Freer’s correct, but belated, decision to reject the increase represents yet another stunning victory for Barnet’s bloggers.
Barnet Council Watch now calls on the other 62 councillors in Barnet, together with all Chief Officers, to refuse a penny increase in their allowances / salaries for 2009/10.
* excludes £14,000 from the London Development Agency quango and £10,248 from London Councils.