Welwyn Hatfield councillors cost us a third-of-a-million pound

MPs’ expenses have been in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent months, but here in Welwyn Hatfield our councillors have had their allowances frozen for the second year running.

More than a third of a million pounds will be given out to the councillors this year.

Each will receive their basic salary of �4,758 with others getting extra for additional roles.

For the first time the leader of the Liberal Democrats group Tony Skottowe will be given a special responsibility allowance of �5,520, equal to that of his Labour Party opposite Margaret Birleson.

However, the official opposition’s deputy leader Steve Roberts will have his allowance of �3,690 cut to zero.

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The deputy mayor’s allowance will increase from �1,192 to �1,490.

Cllr Skottowe, representative for Handside ward, said: “I think the council appreciates there are now three parties.

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“I think it’s fair given the running around I do.”

However, Cllr Skottowe did feel the basic allowance should have risen.

He said: “There’s work to be done and people are willing to do it to put something back into the community in which they live, but there is a line at which people will say ‘this is derisory’.”

Labour deputy leader and Peartree councillor Steve Roberts said: “I’m not bothered so much about the cut but by the fact that at no time was I asked to contribute to the report.

“Also, what happens when Labour increases its number of seats? Does that mean we will have to spend more money on yet another report?” The allowances are reviewed by an independent remuneration panel which includes WHT editor Terry Mitchinson.

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