Putting Hartlepool First spokesman says councillor pay rise is ‘morally wrong’

David Riddle, of Putting Hartlepool First.

David Riddle, of Putting Hartlepool First.

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THE spokesman for the second largest party on the council has called on all members to reject the proposal for a hike in the councillor allowance.

Councillor David Riddle, Putting Hartlepool First spokesman, has written to all members of Hartlepool Borough Council ahead of Thursday night’s meeting claiming it would be “morally wrong” to accept a rise.

In the letter Coun Riddle also urges all members to unanimously vote against any increase, as otherwise it would “seriously damage” the reputation of the local authority.

He added: “Gentlemen, ladies, fellow members, be assured, if we vote “for” to a raise in councillors allowances on Thursday, it will seriously damage even further the reputation of our council.

“Many residents of our town continue to live hand to mouth via foodbanks.

“Services including libraries, schools and such like are desperate for funding.

“We, the towns elected councillors, have to be seen to lead by example.

“Accepting an increase in allowances in a time of severe austerity is morally wrong.”

Coun Riddle has called on councillors to find a “common ground” on the issue.

Meanwhile, Phillip Broughton, UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for next year’s general election has also slammed the proposals for a rise.

Mr Broughton said: “Frontline services should be the priority not councillor allowances”.

He added: “I read with total dismay that Hartlepool council is considering raising councillor allowances by 13 per cent by 2015.

“This whole situation is unbelievable.

“Councils and councillors should focus on protecting front line services such as bus services schools and policing.

“Councillors should not be lining their own pockets and increasing their allowances especially in difficult economic times when everyone is struggling.”

Mr Broughton added that UKIP policy is to cut councillors allowances and expenses.

He added: “I strongly urge all councillors from all political parties to reject the remuneration panel’s proposed increases in councillor’s allowances at Thursday’s council meeting.”