Opposition councillors in Gosport will get increase of allowances

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OPPOSITION leaders are to receive more than £2,000 extra for their role on a council.

The decision by Gosport Borough Council will see leaders of the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties get an extra £2,383.50 on top of their basic allowance.

In this time of austerity we still need to look for additional savings.

Councillor Mark Hook

The decision was made using a new formula based on the party make-up of the council.

It was one of two increases suggested for members’ allowances for next year by an independent panel.

The panel also wanted to see the chairman of the standards and governance committee receive an additional £3,270.

But Conservative leader of the council Mark Hook, whose special responsibility allowance will stay at £13,620, put forward a recommendation to get rid of the extra money for that role.

He said: ‘Of the 14 recommendations I support 13 of them.

‘The only one I don’t like is the standards and governance committee.

‘They only hold three or four meetings a year and the work of that particular chairman is not comparable to the work of others.

‘In this time of austerity we still need to look for additional savings.’

Cllr Hook added that he supported the increase for opposition leaders as he agreed with the formula used.

‘I’m glad that we have put this formula in place for the future,’ he added.

Lib Dem leader Councillor Peter Chegwyn asked about the formula used and if it would change as opposition numbers changed.

‘I’m presuming now that this formula is in place, it will go up and down depending on the membership of the groups,’ he said.

Labour councillor June Cully was in support of the allowances.

She said: ‘I feel that the chairman of the standards and governance committee does take on an important role.

‘But I understand that we are trying to save money as the budgets get tighter.’

Other allowances to remain in place are the basic allowance all councillors receive of £5,862; chairman of service boards, regulatory board and licensing board will receive an additional £4,362 and the chairman of overview and scrutiny committee will receive an extra £3,270.