Pay freeze for councillors
COUNCILLORS will feel the pinch of cuts as officers look to freeze their allowances, reduce subsidised parking and cut the amount of printing of council documents.
Cash-strapped Bolton Council has come up with a series of cost-cutting measures in a bid to save £100,000 from the members’ budget.
Plans include reducing the amount of paper printed for meetings to save £21,000, freezing councillors’ allowances to save £18,000 and stopping the funding for external training courses, worth £15,000.
From April, councillors will also be asked to pay more to park in the Octagon car park— up to £20 instead of £15 a month, saving about £6,000 for the council.
In addition, £10,000 worth of funding for extraordinary civic events — such as the street celebration for Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny — will have to be found elsewhere.
Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, welcomed the move and said it was only right that members’ budgets were looked at.
The Labour leader said: “It was a bit unfair for us to expect others to take cuts and for us not to look at our own budget.
“So we’ve looked at our budget and it’s £100,000 that we’ve found.”
But deputy leader of the Conservative group, Cllr Andy Morgan, said he does not believe the cutbacks go far enough.
In an alternative budget, which will be presented to full council on Wednesday evening, the group is calling for councillors to take a 25 per cent pay cut across the board. Cllr Morgan said: “We welcome the suggestions but we don’t think we’re going far enough.”
Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Hayes said the council should go further and look at reducing the “special responsibility” budget for the most senior councillors — including his own.
He said: “All of these proposals need doing. I’m happy to pay more to park the car and for my basic allowance to be frozen. I think it’s a pity that the training budget has been cut, but there’s nothing on that list I disagree with.”