Labour councillors offered a 67% pay rise

The news of a recommendation to give seven Sefton Labour councillors pay rises of between 25% and 67% has understandably provoked fury. Liberal Democrats have condemned the proposal as completely unacceptable.

Sefton Council’s "Independent Remuneration Panel" proposed the massive increases at its first meeting held since Labour took overall control of Sefton Council in the May local elections.

Many councillors had expected the Panel to propose a cut in the level of additional Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) paid to senior councillors. In fact they did exactly the opposite.

The Panel has recommended that the Chairs of five Sefton Council Committees should each receive a 67% pay rise taking their total pay from £12,780 to £21,300.  In addition, they propose that the Chairs of the Planning and Licensing Committees should be awarded a 25% pay rise – up from £17,040 to £21,300.

This follows last month’s decision by the Labour Party to seize all the Overview & Scrutiny Chairs. In other councils these important posts are normally shared between the political parties, on the basis that these committees exist to scrutinise the actions of the Cabinet.

In Sefton Council the decisions of the 100% Labour Cabinet are being scrutinised by committees 100% controlled by Labour. All seven councillors proposed to receive the massive pay rises are Labour.

Lib Dem councillor Nigel Ashton said "These huge pay rises for a select group of Labour councillors are totally unacceptable. At the annual budget meeting before the elections Lib Dems proposed a cut of 10% in the pay of senior councillors. We were outvoted by Labour and Conservatives voting together.

"This is a time when many households are under real financial pressure, and many workers have their pay frozen for a second year. For councillors to be offered more pay at this time is beyond belief."