Councillors praised for leadership in freezing allowances

THURROCK councillors unanimously agreed to freeze their allowances for another year — despite a recommendation for a rise from an independent panel.

The full council — meeting on Wednesday (20 July) — instead asked the panel, which examines allowances in Southend as well as Thurrock, to come up with a phased approach.

The panel is being asked to “come forward with a proposal for the staged implementation” of its proposals “to be agreed in consultation with group leaders”.

Council Leader, Cllr John Kent described the panel’s report as “a good piece of work”, but said he believed there was a consensus for freezing them.

“He said: “I think there would be a consensus for accepting these proposals in full in normal times, but these are not normal times.”

Members heard that in 2007 — the last time the panel made proposals on allowances — it was rejected and that there had been no rise in allowances since 2003. In addition Thurrock councillors had voted through a five per cent pay cut last year.

The panel’s recommendations also included a reduction in the allowances for some lay-members of committees. Councillors agreed it was not “appropriate to implement these”.

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