OPPOSITION councillors have criticised Town Hall bosses for voting through an increase in councillors’ pay.

Tendring Council last year cut the number of councillors from 60 to 48 in a bid to save almost £250,000 over four years.

But the Conservative-led administration this week put forward an amendment to recommendations by the council’s independent remuneration committee to call for a £41,200 increase to allowances in 2020/21.

The figure includes an extra £32,000 due to an increase in the basic allowance to £6,000, an extra £1,500 for the vice-chairman of the planning committee, as well as an extra £2,300 by creating an allowance for group leaders.

Removing a restriction that only allows councillors to claim for one special responsibility means an extra £5,400 will also be spent.

Labour group leader Ivan Henderson hit out at the plan, which he said was against the independent panel’s recommendations.

He said: “They’ve given themselves £41,000 extra at a time when they’ve scrapped £80,000 from the Big Society Fund, which helped some of the most deprived people within the district.

“We’ve got people queuing up for food banks and they’re asking people to pay more council tax next year.

“While all this is going on, they’ve voted to put more money in their own pockets.

“They pledged last year that they were going to save council taxpayers money by reducing the number of councillors.

“But less than eight months later, they’ve decided to put that money back in their own pockets.

“I think it’s disgusting and I hope the public remember this and hold them to account.”

Council leader Neil Stock said councillors now have 25 per cent extra work to do following the changes brought in last year.

“The increase in the basic allowance is just over £400 per councillor,” he said.

“I made it clear that councillors don’t have to take their allowance and those that feel they don’t need or want or deserve their allowance shouldn’t take it.

“There was quite a lot of virtue signalling by opposition councillors during the debate.

“It is a contentious issue.”