The Conservative Group propose to take the same decrease as staff, but other Groups want to keep their allowances the same
In early October the workforce of Cambridgeshire County Council earning over £25,000 p.a. were asked to take three days unpaid leave over the Christmas period, enacting a clause in their contract. That amendment to their contracts had been negotiated previously with their unions. This has two impacts, one is effectively a reduction in pay of approximately 1.2%, the other an increase of three days leave (although unpaid) entitlement. This does not apply to any staff earning less than £25,000 a year.
Leader of the Council, Steve Count (pictured) says, “After discussions the Conservative Group are united in sending a message to our staff that we are in this together. The Conservative Group will therefore be taking a motion to Council next Tuesday calling on all Parties and members to unite with us, by taking a decrease in allowances equivalent to the workforce of approximately 1.2%. Furthermore, there are only nine councillors paid above the £25,000 threshold but the Group is unanimous in that each and every one of our Group will take the reduction.
As Councillors we are often called upon during any part of the year, so we do not have a holiday entitlement the same as the workforce, therefore the three extra days extra unpaid leave will not apply to us.”
Enacting this clause in the workforce’s contract was necessary due to the well-known and unprecedented demands on the budget. The savings generated by this proposal from the Conservative Group will be approximately £9,000 pounds compared to the significant £900,000 that will be saved from the staffing budget. We therefore recognise that our saving contribution proposal is more a gesture of unity than financially significant, but an important message that needs to be heard.
The Labour Group and Liberal Democrat Group have subsequently united behind a proposal where there will be no decrease in anyone’s pay, and therefore keeping their allowances where they are. Embarrassingly for them they did not even try to suggest where almost £1m to finance their proposal should come from. These two Groups opposed the allowance rise last year which brought all councillors in Cambridgeshire County Council up to the national average. To date only one councillor has declined to take the increase, despite all the members of those two Groups voting against it.