Isle of Wight Councillors have voted to increase their own allowances on Wednesday (September 19).
A full council meeting saw councillors consider a recommendation from the Independent Remuneration Panel to apply a 2% increase to their Basic Allowance.
The Basic Allowance paid to councillors for their services will now rise to £7854 per year.
The Independent Remuneration Panel believes its recommendations to raise the allowance are “appropriate, justifiable, and equitable”.
The vote passed 31 votes to three abstentions and three against.
Councillor Clare Mosdell (Conservative, Arreton and Newchurch) said she would support the vote as she felt it was a “step in the right direction” to encourage more women to get into local politics.
Cllr Michael Lilley (Independent, Ryde East), said he could not support the vote “morally” as constituents in his ward use foodbanks and out of principal he couldn’t vote for it at this time of “poverty”. Although he did agree with Cllr Mosdell’s point.
Cllr Debbie Andre (Independent, Sandown North) abstained from the vote.
She said: “This decision should not be taken by councillors and I will be abstaining.”
Cllr Geoff Brodie (Independent Labour, Newport East) said he would “challenge any keyboard warrior to a spend a month” with him to understand how taxing the councillor role can be before they commented on the outcome of the vote.
Cabinet secretary, Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Conservative, Newport West), said before the meeting to the IW Observer: “Personally, I’ve declined any additional allowance for my role as cabinet secretary, uniquely I have never claimed expenses, and I give away the basic allowance to charity, so it makes no difference to me.
“That said, I know that for some councillors they would struggle to make ends meet without a decent basic allowance, and others lose out on their income through the number of hours they put in. I back the proposal as a very small step, which in any event is less than inflation.”
Cllr Whitehouse echoed a similar statement before the vote in the council chamber.