COUNCILLORS have agreed not to take a pay rise this year.

Conservative councillor David Greenhalgh proposed freezing payments in his first act as council leader last night.

All parties voted in favour of scrapping the planned two per cent increase.

This follows the news that Bolton Council offers one of the most generous councillor allowances in Greater Manchester.

Councillors receive a basic allowance of £11,644 but those with senior roles are entitled to special responsibility allowances (SRAs).

Tory leader David Greenhalgh told The Bolton News that he wants an indepedent panel to review these payments.

He said: “It shows the direction that we are going in. We are doing the only thing that we can do before the remuneration panel to looks at SRAs.”

As part of the 25-point agreement to put the Conservatives in charge, party leaders committed to reviewing the number and sizes of SRAs.

The document states: “Special Responsibility Allowances have been maintained even though the council has lost functions and shrunk in size. This not only looks bad but also fails to reflect the reduction in the amount of work the council does.”

Lib Dem leader Roger Hayes hailed the historic agreement as a success for his group partly because it pledges to look at reducing the number and cut the cost of SRAs.

However, he was disappointed that the Conservatives have not cut the number of executive cabinet members.

He said: "The experience of the last couple of years has shown that the number of meetings cancelled due to lack of business and meetings in many cases which only lasted a few minutes show that there is not enough work for ten executive members."

The executive cabinet members Cllr Greenhalgh has selected for the year ahead would all be paid the same amount.

There will be a higher rate paid to the leader and the deputy leader who each have their own cabinet portfolios.