Bristol mayor defends £9k pay rise 'intended for victor'

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image captionMarvin Rees said he would have supported the decision either way - as a pay rise or cut

The mayor of Bristol has defended why he will be accepting a £9,000 pay rise originally intended for the victor of the postponed mayoral election.

Labour's Marvin Rees said the decision was made independently and he would support any decision, whether it was for a rise or a decrease in salary.

"My position on pay has been not to get involved in deciding my pay," he said.

The independent panel also approved rises for the two deputy mayors and cabinet members.

The decision to increase pay was confirmed at a full council meeting last month and will take effect in May, despite the postponed elections due to the pandemic.

Mr Rees was questioned why he accepted the pay rise during a Facebook Live on Wednesday, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

"An independent panel spends considerable time looking at the rate of pay of elected members - they look at the job, they look at comparable pay in other authorities - and then they come back with a recommendation," he said.

"My position has been not to cross the line and get involved in that process, other than to support whatever the panel says."

He said how he spent his salary was a "private decision" as he was also a private citizen.

The panel's recommendations, which came in two parts, were agreed unanimously at full council in September 2019 and last month.

No member chose to speak on either agenda item.

They will cost council taxpayers an additional £180,000 a year, taking the overall annual allowances bill up from £1.28m to about £1.46m.

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