Gosport councillors vote themselves a £400 pay increase

111826-403_MARK_HOOK_SR_18/5/11'Cllr.Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council.''Picture:Steve Reid 111826-403

111826-403_MARK_HOOK_SR_18/5/11'Cllr.Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council.''Picture:Steve Reid 111826-403

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COUNCILLORS in Gosport have awarded themselves a pay rise.

They voted to accept an independent panel’s recommendations to increase their basic allowances by £410, to £5,630 a year.

Tory council leader Mark Hook has insisted the pay rise won’t put taxpayers out of pocket.

He said it would be paid for by the removal of the council’s 10-member housing board, and by discontinuing expenses paid to councillors for mileage claims made for attending meetings at the Town Hall.

He said: ‘It costs no more than last year. The important thing to the public is that this will not cost them any more than it will already.

‘We have got rid of the housing board and so that allowance for the chairman is gone.

‘We’ve also stopped all mileage claims for town hall meetings.

‘Those expenses should be seen as part of this increase.’

The pay increase was recommended by a panel made up of three people not part of the council – the principal of Bridgemary Community Sports College Richard Carlyle, Peter Caroll of the Gosport Voluntary Action Group and Andrew Smith of the Sanderson Centre.

Cllr Hook said: ‘The last time there was a review done was in 2002. This is not a report done by officers or councillors – this is an independent report.’

Cllr Hook’s allowance as leader also rises from £12,126 to £13,078. But he vowed not to claim the extra cash.

The leader of the Gosport Lib Dems, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, said he wouldn’t claim his rise in special responsibility allowance which went up from £1,070 to £1,580.

He said: ‘The reality is many members of the public don’t think any of us should be paid anything at all. I don’t feel the public, when many of them are losing their jobs, will take kindly to any politician awarding themselves a pay rise.

‘I won’t take any increase in special responsibilities allowance when people are losing their jobs.’

The Lib Dems, Labour and independent councillors all abstained from the vote.

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