Cambridgeshire County Council allowance rise 'flawed'

A controversial 25% rise in council allowances in Cambridgeshire could be put on hold after the process was ruled to be "flawed".

The council-backed rise, which sparked demonstrations at the County Hall, was recommended by an independent panel last month.

But on Tuesday the council's standards committee found the selection of panel members was flawed.

A new panel will be formed and its report will go before members.

Councillor Christine Carter, a member of the standards committee, said she hoped the planned increase would be scrapped until a new panel was formed.

'Sufficiently flawed'

She said that would depend on the legality of the decision and the full council.

In October the council voted to back the recommendations of an independent report which called for an increase from £7,610 per year to £9,500.

The Conservative council's leader, Nick Clarke, would see the total allowance he can claim rise from £29,856 to £38,000.

The union Unison organised a protest outside the council offices in opposition to the increase.

A council spokesman said: "The standards committee reviewed the appointments process and concluded that it was sufficiently flawed that they were unable to ratify the appointments to the independent remuneration panel.

"This means a new panel will be formed and a new report carried out.

"The standards committee found flaws in the process taken by officers to bring the report to full council and therefore should not have been debated and agreed last month by council.

"Cambridgeshire County Council chief executive Mark Lloyd has apologised to the leaders of the council's political groups for the mistakes that were made."

Mr Clarke said: "This report was called for by all three main party leaders and is something the council needs to carry out periodically.

"It is very clear from the findings of the standards committee that mistakes have been made in the process of bringing this to full council and the chief executive has apologised to the leaders of the council's political groups for this."

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