Another thing that we decided upon at Annual Council on Thursday night was the level of Councillors allowances for the coming year.

No one becomes a councillor for the allowances that you get, as they do not “pay” for the amount of time that most councillors invest in their council. However it is right to recompense councillors in some way for the time that they do give. Harlow has traditionally had low allowances compared to its neighbouring councils and that is a tradition my administration has been happy to follow. Our allowances are recommended to council by an independent panel, and we are happy to accept the panels recommendations.

In the last two years we have kept allowances frozen but this year, because of the budget being very tight we had to ask staff to take a 1.3% pay cut. I said at the time that councillors allowances should be reduced by the same amount, meaning that everyone, staff and councillors shared the burden equally. The independent panel obviously agreed, as on Thursday night the council agreed a cut in the basic allowance for all councillors, we also agreed cuts to most of the special responsibility allowances (those additional allowances paid to Chairmen of committees etc)

I am really pleased that councillors followed through on the promise.

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