Hartlepool councillors WILL get pay rise to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with workers’

'SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH WORKERS': Coun Alan Clark.
'SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH WORKERS': Coun Alan Clark.

COUNCILLORS say they will show how they “stand shoulder to shoulder” with workers by accepting a rise in their allowance.

A motion proposing councillors to not pick up a 2.2 per cent rise was defeated in a full meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council.

The proposal was signed by independent members Jonathan Brash, Paul Thompson and Pamela Hargreaves and Putting Hartlepool First’s David Riddle and Geoff Lilley.

But the suggestion their acceptance of the funds would be “ill-judged and wrong” at a time when many are seeing their wages frozen and slashed was shunned in a vote.

Several in favour of leaving the allowance at £5,825, rather than the increased amount of £5,953, said they have contacted the council’s finance department to say they do not want to be given the extra cash.

Councillor Brash said: “I don’t disagree with the pay increase for our staff, it’s a well deserved 2.2 per cent. In relation to cuts, our staff have suffered in recent years.

“It’s wrong to even contemplate a rise in our pay at a time when people are suffering in a cost of living crisis.”

Coun Thompson reiterated his view it would be “abhorrent” to be given the additional money.

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, a Labour member, said some should be “ashamed” of their low attendance level at meetings, as did Conservative Brenda Loynes.

She said of the increase: “It’s £10 a month, £7.50 after tax, it’s not a fortune.”

Labour’s Alan Clark, who is a shop steward, said he was among those who believed the rise showed he “stood shoulder to shoulder with my workers”.

Coun Akers-Belcher said no rise had been given to members on two previous occasions in line with a freeze on workers’ pay.