Councillors on North Yorkshire Council have voted to increase their pay by £1,500 a year.
North Yorkshire Council‘s independent remuneration panel recommended the 90 elected councillors’ annual basic allowance should be increased from £15,500 to £17,000.
The 10% uplift, along with other increases for councillors with special responsibility allowances, will mean council tax payers have to foot an extra £145,000 each year.
Councillors backed the move at a full council meeting in Northallerton today.
Cllr Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, a Liberal Democrat who represents Masham and Fountains division on the council, said at the meeting today that she would not support the increase.
“May I remind everyone that we are in a cost of living crisis. Awarding ourselves a pay rise at this time is indefensible.”
However, Cllr Carl Les, leader of the council, said the independent panel had considered the current cost of living when making the decision to recommend the rise.
“The independent panel know that there is a cost of living crisis. They have factored that in to their deliberations.”
Cllr Les added that it was up to individual councillors as to whether they accepted all or some of the allowance available to them.
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Panel chair Keith Trotter cited the increased workload caused by the creation of North Yorkshire Council, inflation and the cost of living as reasons for the recommendation.
The £1,500 increase in the annual basic allowance from £15,500 to £17,000 will result in an increase in the total annual amount paid of £135,000.
Meanwhile, the two per cent increase in the special responsibility allowances paid, with the exception of sessional payments to chairs of the licensing sub-committees, will result in an increase in the total annual amount paid of £10,514.
North Yorkshire Council was created on April 1 to replace the eight county, borough and district councils in the biggest reorganisation of local government in the county since 1974.
Councillors volunteer for their roles so they are not officially paid but receive an annual basic allowance, which according to the panel compensates for their time and “conscientious fulfilment of duties”.