Lincolnshire County Council members have backed a recommendation to give themselves a pay rise of almost £2,000, despite facing budget cuts of almost £40million.
At a meeting on Friday, councillors voted 50-20 to accept the findings of an independent panel which proposed that the basic allowance for members should go up by about 23 per cent from £8,184 to £10,100, taking effect from April 1.
Members of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), which meets every four years to review councillors’ pay, also recommended that the pay of county council leader Martin Hill should rise by 56 per cent from £20,448 to £32,000.
Labour Party council members, including Deeping St James county councillor Phil Dilks, voted against the rise in the light of cuts to library services worth £1.7million.
But UKIP county councillor for Spalding East and Moulton, Richard Fairman, backed the rise which the IRP said was one per cent more than the pay increase accepted but not taken by councillors in 2010 due to the economic downturn.
Coun Fairman said: “Being a councillor isn’t a well-paid job and we’re putting in huge numbers of hours. If we were paid literally for what we do, we’d be paid a lot more.
“People are thinking that we’re taking a 23 per cent pay rise, but we’ve not taken one for four years and I’m taking the increase in allowance recommended by the IRP.”
But Coun Dilks said: “I did vote against such huge pay increases for councillors at a time when we’re making library workers redundant and withdrawing funding for libraries.
“In the past year, Lincolnshire County Council has collected over £11million more than it has spent and put that money into reserves, which I think is morally wrong.”
Coun Hill said before the meeting that he wouldn’t be taking the increase as it wasn’t the “right time” for it.