Croydon Council accused of allowances 'U-turn'

Croydon Town Hall
Image caption A pay rise for politicians at Croydon Town Hall has been postponed

A council decided against plans to give top politicians rises in allowances at a time of a public sector wage freeze.

Conservative-run Croydon Council, in south London, had planned to award all cabinet members a rise.

The decision was finalised last week. But the council says politicians later decided to postpone it for a year.

Croydon council's Labour members say the council performed the U-turn after public "disgust".

As part of the plans, rank and file councillors had been asked to accept a £1,000 cut in allowance, which acts as a salary for elected officials.

But Labour councillor Karen Jewitt said Croydon's committee rubber-stamped a pay rise for senior figures days ago - and says the council only acted after a public outcry.

Leader Mike Fisher was in line for a £12,000 increase.

Ms Jewitt said: "They had every intention of putting these pay rises through.

"All they have done is back down in the face of public disgust - it's an absolute U-turn.

"They were bringing it to committee just days ago and they are now expecting us to believe they've suddenly changed their minds?"

She added: "I don't have a problem with having a £1,000 pay cut myself in times like this but awarding themselves pay rises is unbelievable."

In a statement on Tuesday morning the council stood by the rises, but it later issued a second statement.

Increase 'on paper'

In it Mike Fisher, council leader, said: "It was decided last week that allowances for most councillors would be reduced.

"On paper a small number of councillors are eligible for increases.

"However, we had already agreed that nobody will actually take any increase this year - it is only an increase on paper."

In June the government announced a two-year pay freeze for all public sector employees earning more than £21,000 a year.

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