Grant Shapps on the new Conservative Age of Austerity in local government:
"It is not justifiable for hikes in councillor allowances when public sector workers are facing a two-year pay freeze", Shapps said. "We're all in this together, and those who hold public office need to lead by example"
Which is news that has not been passed to the Tory leader of Barnet's "low-spending EasyCouncil" who is set to get a 55% pay rise:
EasyCouncil Leader allowance pre-austerity: £34,909EasyCouncil Leader allowance post-austerity: £54,227
Under the proposals, Lynne Hillan would ditch allowance levels recommended by the "local independent remuneration panel."
She would instead accept the higher level recommended by the then Tory-run London Councils organisation.
Their "independent report" has also given cover for rises in Conservative-run Croydon council, although these were quickly ditched when the BBC turned up.
The Labour Mayor of Newham has also used the report to justify increasing his own pay by 2%.
Meanwhile the pay of Boris Johnson went up by a less-bang-for-your-buck 5% last year to £143,911.
And despite Shapps' call for a "‘sunlight’ of openness" for some reason the Mayor's salary is no longer easily accessible on the london.gov.uk website:
So much for austerity and openness.
-Update- Barnet Labour Group leader Cllr Alison Moore said today:
Barnet TUC will be demonstrating against the rises outside Hendon Town Hall tonight."It is absolutely obscene that at a time of savage service cuts, public sector pay freezes and anticipated job losses through the easyCouncil programme that top Barnet Tories are proposing to award themselves a pay increase of up to 50%. What's more this scheme will cost Barnet council tax-payers more money. Contrast this with our proposals - voted down by the Barnet Tories - in each of the last three years to cap councillors' allowances, which would have saved Barnet council tax-payers money"
Barnet Tories forced throught the rises last night against Labour and Lib Dem opposition. One Tory Councillor Kate Salinger abstained as a "matter of conscience."
She was then stripped of all her committee roles as a result. Councillor Brian Coleman said that residents would be "delighted" by the rises.
Grant Shapps told the BBC that Barnet should "For goodness sake show some leadership"