‘A pay rise would be wrong in a recession’

Limavady councillors have said it would be “wrong” to accept a one per cent pay rise in their basic allowance when there are people in the community struggling to make ends meet.

At Tuesday’s Support Services meeting, members were asked if they wanted the 1 per cent rise in their basic £9,500 allowance. All members present voted against taking the rise.

First to voice their opposition to the pay rise was Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey.

“Personally, I don’t think we should be accepting any pay rise at the minute. I think we should be setting an example and showing leadership,” said Colr. McGlinchey, adding: “We’re in a recession.”

DUP Colr. and MLA George Robinson said he tended to agree, althought it didn’t really affect him, while SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle said it would be an issue members would have to consider as they move towards being part of the new Super Council.

However, Colr. Coyle said: “There are people outside this Council that are struggling to make ends meet. It’s not much of a sacrifice and I think we shouldn’t accept it.”

Speaking after the meeting, Limavady Mayor, Gerry Mullan said councillors made the right decision.

“There was no way we could accept this one per cent pay rise in our allowance when so many of the residents we represent are struggling to afford day-to-day essentials,” said Colr. Mullan.

A Council spokesperson said: “This is not the first time councillors here have made such a decision; having previously refused a 2.5% pay rise when it was put to them a few years ago.”

Limavady Borough councillors’ expenditure amounted to £202,370 for the year 2011/12.

For the year 2012/13, councillors’ expenses amounted to £192, 729.

Councillors who chair Council committees or hold appointments, including mayor and deputy mayor, also get special responsibility allowances.

Members are also entitled to claim travel and subsistence allowances.

For a breakdown on past councillors expenses visit limavady.gov.uk/living/councillors/councillor-allowances