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Rosie Duffield backs plan to limit Canterbury councillor pay hikes after ‘greedy’ 15% increases at KCC

PUBLISHED: 16:22 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 06 October 2017

Rosie Duffield - Canterbury MP, Labour

Rosie Duffield - Canterbury MP, Labour

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Labour members have submitted a motion ahead of a city council meeting later this month

A plan to limit pay rises for Canterbury councillors, “to prevent the greed of KCC leaders seeping down to city level”, has been backed by an MP.

Labour members on the city council have proposed a motion ahead of a meeting later this month, calling on chiefs to ensure any future increases are at the same level of the public sector pay award, or the rate of inflation - whichever is lower.

It comes after Kent County Council members controversially voted to hike their own allowances by some 15 per cent earlier this summer, in a move branded “disgraceful” and “preposterous” by opponents.

Council leader Paul Carter justified the rise by saying members’ pay “hadn’t reflected the cost of living increases and pay increases that everybody else has had, except us”.

Rosie Duffield, who was elected Labour MP for Canterbury during the snap election back in June, has thrown her weight behind the motion, proposed by opposition leader Alan Baldock and due to be debated by the city council on October 19 at the Guildhall.

She said: “The greed of Kent county councillors in awarding themselves a 15 per cent pay rise earlier this year was astonishing.

“Paul Carter should be ashamed at hiking up allowances so much when so many people in Kent are struggling.

“Under Tory cuts and public-sector wage caps, people haven’t seen a significant rise in their pay-packet for years.

“I talk to people every day who are really struggling to pay their rent and feed their children; many of my constituents are suffering for the brutal decisions of Tory policy makers.

“This motion, by Alan Baldock and the Labour group, will prevent the greed of KCC leaders seeping down to city level.

“I have full confidence that even the Conservatives on the council will support this motion. Not to do so would be an outrage.”

However, Conservative leader of the Canterbury City Council, Simon Cook, told us the motion was “pointless”.

He said: “In my history on the council, it moves in line with the staff, and in fact when we set the number of councillors, we had a recommendation on allowances and we looked at it said it seemed excessive, so it’s actually lower than was recommended.

“It’s silly to compare an entirely different council.”

It emerged earlier this week that some £1.7m of taxpayers’ money was spent on allowances and expenses for county councillors last year - the release of the figures coming just days after Cllr Carter warned frontline services across the county face an imminent “day of reckoning” if central government does not provide additional funding for the local authority.

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